Thursday, 3 December 2009

Baked Polenta Lasagna

I really enjoy eating polenta, but making it is a hit or miss for me. On occasion I will fuck up royally, with the polenta being too sticky or uncooked. When that happens, I usually pour the polenta mixture into pans to refrigerate, and either make polenta fries or polenta lasagna the next day once they've solidified. With this recipe, I used left over bolognese sauce and polenta to make this "lasagna." Everything's precooked, so you can just freeze it and stick it in the oven when you need to quickly whip up something for a 20-minute meal or impromptu dinner party.

Baked Polenta with Bolognese Meat Sauce (adapted from Marcella Hazan)

Béchamel Sauce:

2 cups milk, heated
4T butter
3T flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, grated

Melt butter in pan. Once melted, take pan off heat, add flour, place back on heat and whisk for 2 minutes.

Add simmering milk and salt, and continue to whisk. Bring it to boil to thicken sauce, then simmer once it hits boiling point. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg, then remove from heat.


7 cups water
1tablespoon salt
12/3cups coarse-grained Italian yellow cornmeal

Bring water to a boil in heavy pot

Add salt and with water boiling, add polenta in thin stream, letting fistfuls run through nearly closed fingers. While adding polenta, you must stir it with a whisk simultaneously, ensuring water is always boiling

Stir with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes, then cover pot and adjust heat so water bubbles at a lively simmer but not at a full boil. After 10 minutes, uncover, stir again, cover and cook another 10 minutes, stir once more, and in 10 minutes repeat procedure. 45 minutes will have lapsed. It will come together in a soft creamy mass. just before taking it off, stir it vigorously for about 1 minutes, loosening it from pot. Turn it out of the pot into a moistened bowl.

Instant Polenta:

6 1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups important Italian instant polenta flour

Bring water to boil

Add salt, and once it begins to boil add polenta in thin stream. Stir with a whisk for 1 minute, then cover pot and cook for 15 minutes or according to instructions. Stir vigorously before taking off pot from heat.

Polenta Lasagna:

Lasagna Pan
2 C Bolognese Sauce
2/3C freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat oven to 450C.

Make Béchamel sauce.

Slice polenta into layers 1/2inch thick.

Smear lasagna pan with butter. Cover with layer of polenta, patching with more polenta and filling in gaps, combine meat sauce and béchamel, spread some over polenta, then sprinkle cheese. Cover with another layer of polenta, repeating entire procedure and leaving just enough of the béchamel and meat sauce mixture and grated cheese for a light topping over the next and final layer of polenta.

Bake on uppermost rack in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown crust forms on top. Remove from oven and allow it to settle before serving.

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