The Delicious Magic of Polenta

Holy crap you guys, let’s not even kid around about how delicious polenta is. If you were unaware, polenta is made from cornmeal, either white or yellow – and in most recipes I have used – it comes in a tube. However, you can buy it in a box and make polenta that is more like cream of wheat. But grainier and with more flavor. I really like it, but I also really like cream of wheat and I’m told that makes me weird. So be it. I get to eat delicious meals with delicious polenta.

The recipe below comes from a new cookbook I got – it is, surprisingly, not a Cooking Light cookbook. Yes, I have expanded. To a vegetarian cookbook from Good Housekeeping. “Family Vegetarian Cooking”. I was worried because my very first recipe out of this book was a total bust (there was much tofu). But the one I want to share with you is particularly awesome!

Good Housekeeping – Family Vegetarian Cooking
Polenta Lasagna (Pg. 151)

I always use more cheese than called for. Oops.

1 tbl. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
28 oz. tomatoes, canned (I used diced. Worked well.)
2 tbl. tomato paste
2 tbl. chopped fresh basil
1 tsp. salt
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tbl. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
24 oz. pre-cooked plain polenta, cut into 16 slices (Look for the tube.)
4 oz. part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add onion and cook until tender, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds longer. Stir in tomatoes with their juice, tomato paste, basil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, breaking up tomatoes (depending on what kind you used) with side of spoon; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set sauce aside.
2. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt until blended.
3. Preheat oven to 350. Grease 8-inch square glass baking dish.
4. Arrange half of polenta slices, overlapping slightly, in baking dish. Drop half of spinach mixture, by rounded tablespoons, on top of polenta (mixture will not completely cover slices). Pour half of sauce over spinach mixture; spread to form an even layer. Sprinkle with half of mozzarella. Repeat layering.
5. Bake casserole until hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes for easier serving.

Makes: 6 main-dish servings
Calories: About 270
Nom Rating: 5 out of 5 NOMS!!!

Try it out and then get back to me. I’ll have more stuff soon, so check back!

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2 comments

  1. I do love a good polenta recipe. When making your own polenta, try using Masa Harina (a Mexican corn flour used for making tortillas) instead of corn meal for a creamier texture. I add frozen corn as well for a little texture.

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