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Polenta Lasagna
“Polenta Pasticiatta”
(Serves 4 to 6)
Polenta Lasagna
Polenta Lasagna or Polenta Pasticiatta (a layered casserole) may be made with Mushroom
Ragu or Bolognese Sauce.  With the mushroom sauce, it makes a wonderful vegetarian
dish.  Polenta is very popular in northern Italy and this dish has its origins in the Lombardy
region.  Polenta is a corn-based product and is an acceptable ingredient to those who have
celiac disease and are allergic to wheat and other gluten containing grains.  Try polenta
lasagna as a delicious alternative to traditional lasagna made with pasta.
Ingredients:

8 ounces polenta
4 cups water
Salt
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups Mushroom Ragu or Bolognese Sauce

Directions:

To make polenta:
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat water and salt until boiling.  Drizzle in polenta in a thin stream.  Whisk constantly, until all polenta is incorporated and mixture begins to thicken.  Cook polenta for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is thick as paste.  Using a rubber spatula, spread the polenta in a 10 x 15-inch baking sheet. The polenta should be a fairly even 1/4-inch thick.  Allow to cool; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Lightly grease a 7 x 10-inch baking dish.
In a bowl, combine the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Cut the polenta into 2-1/2 inch wide strips.  Then cut the strips about 7-inches long to fit into the baking dish.  Spread 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.  Arrange 4 of the polenta strips in one layer over the sauce. Spread another 1/2 cup of sauce over the polenta.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over the sauce.  Repeat the layers 2 more times, ending with the cheese.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned on top.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Cut into squares to serve
Mushroom Ragu

(Makes about 2 cups)

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup chopped onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound mixed mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Directions:

Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic.  Saute the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and thyme.  Saute until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the Marsala wine, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet.  Add the vegetable broth and tomato paste; bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.
Remove from the heat.  Stir in the parsley and Parmesan cheese; check for seasoning.
Bolognese Sauce


Traditional Bolognese sauce does not include sausage.  I like to add it in this recipe but you may choose to use all ground beef if desired.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
8 ouncesground beef
8 ounces Italian sausage, removed from casings
1/2 carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup milk or cream
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch black pepper


Directions:

Sauté onions in olive oil until soft.  Add ground beef and sausage; cook until no longer pink.  Add carrots, celery, milk, and nutmeg. Cook until milk has evaporated.  Add remaining ingredients.  Simmer over low heat, partially covered, for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
Polenta Lasagna
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