Polenta Lasagna


I am fond of every kind of pasta, my absolute favorite pasta dish is of course, lasagna, no doubt about it!
The most special (exciting/outstanding) thing/factor of getting out a hot casserole from the oven is the moment of the cut through the cheesy oozy layers.

A lasagna is a great time saver as you can make it the day before you want to serve it leaving you plenty of time to entertain your guests.

You will have countless options when making lasagna depending on the ingredients you pick.
I absolutely love layering them between smooth sheets of pasta, tomato sauce, and a variety of cheeses using many different seasonal ingredients.

I’d like to make my own fresh pasta sheets, but I really don’t have time for that, and moreover, I don’t particularly enjoy buying dried lasagna noodles.

Instead of making pasta from scratch you can just use polenta.  The same way you’d do with pasta sheets you can layer polenta,sauce and cheese as polenta can be cut into slices once cooked and cooled down.

Polenta al Forno or polenta “lasagna” is a quite abundant dish, especially when a hearty meat ragu sauce is used.
In this case I layered the polenta slices with the sausage ragu sauce, pecorino cheese and grated mozzarella.

Serves 4
Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 1 hr 15 mins

Ingredients Polenta:

  • 3 Cups Quick Cooking Polenta
  • 2 Quarts Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt

Sauce:

    • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    • 1/2 Cup Chopped Onions
    • 1 Stalk Of Celery, Finely Chopped
    • 1 Carrot, Finely Chopped
    • 4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
    • 5 Italian Sausages, Meat Removed From Casings

 

  • 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Basil
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

 

To Assemble:

  • 8 Ounces Grated Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 Cup Grated Pecorino or Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. for the polenta, boil 2 quarts of water
  2. Add the salt and oil, and then slowly/gently whisk in the cornmeal.
  3. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes over medium heat, continue whisking to avoid lumps.
  4. Lightly oil a baking sheet and pour the polenta on top.
  5. Spread the polenta evenly with a spoon and let it cool completely.
  6. For the sauce heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed large saucepan over medium heat.
  7. Add the carrot, onion, and celery, and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the vegetables start to brown.
  8. Add the garlic and sausages and continue to cook until the meat loses its pink color and it breaks up into small pieces in a few minutes.
  9. Add the crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
  10. Boil the mixture, and then simmer and cook for 30 minutes until it thicken.
  11. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  12. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch oven-proof pan.
  13. Slice the polenta into stripes, and cover the sauce with a layer of polenta.
  14. Make another layer of sauce, some mozzarella and pecorino cheese.
  15. Repeat until you are out of ingredients, ending with an abundant layer of cheese on top.
  16. Bake the casserole for 25 minutes, or until lightly crispy or bubbly hot.
  17. Take the casserole out from the oven and let it rest at least 10 minutes before serving.

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