Author Topic: Polenta Lasagna  (Read 146 times)

Olga Drozd

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Polenta Lasagna
« on: May 02, 2018, 05:56:33 PM »
Polenta Lasagna

Lasagna doesn't always have to be made with noodles.  Here, homemade polenta slices are arranged in layers with a tomato mushroom sauce, spinach, pesto, and ricotta cheese, and the dish is topped with mozzarella.  Make the polenta several hours or a day ahead to allow it to firm up before assembling.

BASIC POLENTA:

1 cup yellow cornmeal
3 1/2 cups cold water - divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 Tablespoon butter or margarine (optional)

In a small bowl, mix cornmeal with 1 cup water. 
In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine remaining 2 1/2 cups water and salt and bring to a boil.  Slowly pour cornmeal mixture into boiling water, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring constantly, until cornmeal mixture is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  If desired, stir in Parmesan cheese and butter.  NOTE: For additional flavor, substitute homemade rich chicken stock or canned low sodium chicken broth for water.

Make Basic Polenta turned into a rectangular dish and chilled

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces small mushrooms, sliced
1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes in thick puree
1 teaspoon salt - divided
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1 package (10 ounces) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/4 cup Basil Pesto OR commercially prepared pesto
1 cup ricotta OR cottage cheese

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
3 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Make Basic Polenta above and chill.

For the Sauce: In a saucepan over medium heat, warm oil.  Add onion, garlic, and mushrooms and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and pepper and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix spinach, pesto, ricotta cheese, and remaining salt.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

When polenta is firm, remove from dish, place on a smooth surface, and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange a layer of polenta slices in a 7 1/2 by 11 3/4 inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray or oil.  (Trim slices to fit;there may be some left over.)

With a spoon, spread 1/2 of the spinach mixture over polenta slices.  In layers, cover with 1/2 of the sauce, and then 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese.  Repeat the layers, beginning with polenta slices.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered, until bubbly, about 45 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving, Cut into squares to serve.  Serves 6.

BASIL PESTO:

2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
2 sprigs fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 Tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 to 4 Tablespoons olive oil

Place all ingredients except oil in a food processor or blender.  Process until minced.  With motor running, slowly pur oil through the feed tube and blend until paste forms.  Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula.  Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use, or freeze an airtight container up to 3 months.  Bring to room temperature before mixing with pasta.  Makes about 1/2 cup.

HOW TO USE POLENTA IN OTHER WAYS:

1.  Make basic polenta and serve in a bowl as a side dish. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.

2.  TO BAKE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Turn Basic Polenta into a 7 1/2 inch by 11 3/4 inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray or oil.  Sprinkle with grated cheese or top with tomato sauce, if desired.  Bake, uncovered, until firm, about 20 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Then cut into squares and serve immediately.

3.  TO FRY OR GRILL:  Turn Basic Polenta into a 7 1/2 inch by 11 3/4 inch glass baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray or oil.  Cover and chill several hours until firm. Cut chilled polenta into 2 by 3 inch pieces.

TO FRY:  In a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook polenta in 2 to 3 Tablespoons butter until golden and crisp, 5 to 6 minutes on each side.

TO GRILL:  Brush grill well with vegetable oil and grill until warm and grill marks are visible, 6 to 8 minutes on each side.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 06:24:31 PM by Olga Drozd »