Polenta Lasagna

This delicious stick-to-your-ribs lasagna uses layers of polenta instead of pasta. Use instant polenta to cut down on the cook time.


INGREDIENTS

Polenta
11 ounces cornmeal
6 to 8 cups water
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. butter

Filling
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
8 ounces ground veal
8 ounces ground pork
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. ground fennel
1/2 tsp. oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups tomato puree
1 cup green peas
1 tbsp. chopped basil

Assembly
Olive oil, for baking sheet
5.5 ounces fontina cheese, thinly sliced
Freshly grated Parmesan, for finishing lasagna


PREPARATION

Polenta
Line a large (18-inches x 13-inches) baking sheet with parchment paper.(If you don't have a large baking sheet, divide the polenta between 2 smaller baking sheets.)

Bring the water and salt to a boil. While whisking, add the cornmeal a little at a time. (Whisking will help eliminate lumps). Reduce heat to medium low and cook polenta, stirring constantly until thick and will mound on a spoon, about 40 to 45 minutes. Stir in the butter.

Scrape polenta into the prepared baking sheet. Spread to an even thicknesss. Let cool until set.

Filling
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onions and garlic, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and continue to cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Increase heat to medium high. Add ground veal and pork, red pepper flakes, fennel and oregano and salt and pepper. Stir to break up the meat. Cook until meat browns, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add wine and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, 15 to 20 minutes. Add peas and basil. Stir to combine.

Assembly
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Oil 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish.

Cut polenta in 1/2 to fit the baking dish. (You’ll need 2 polenta layers for the lasagna.)

Add first layer of polenta to the baking dish. Add all the filling over top and then all the the fontina cheese. Add second layer of polenta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake lasagna until polenta is heated through and filling is hot, about 30 minutes. If desired, place polenta lasagna under broiler to brown the top layer, about 2 to 5 minutes.

Let lasagna rest before serving, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Variation:
To reduce cooking time of the polenta, use instant polenta. Follow instructions on package, as ratios for polenta to water may vary depending on brand.



Yield: 6 servings.