Polenta Lasagna

polenta lasagna casserole Italian authentic recipe

Polenta Pasticciata con Ragu di Carne, a dish from the Campania region of southern Italy. This is a polenta casserole with a typical Italian ragu di carne.  Polenta is made of coarse yellow cornmeal slowly cooked in water or stock until the desired consistency is met.  While polenta is more often served soft and creamy, the polenta in this dish is cooked for 30-40 minutes and left to firm up until it is firm and can be sliced.  .

Polenta isn’t very commonly known or eaten in the U.S..  It’s still mostly eaten in Italy.  Polenta has been around since Roman times and was originally a peasant food.   And though traditionally a poor man’s food, it is considered fine dining in the U.S. and is commonly served in more upscale restaurants.

This Polenta “Lasagna” is Italian comfort food at its finest.  Beautiful in presentation and delicious to the taste.

If you haven’t already, come connect with me on The Daring Gourmet’s Facebook Page.  Would love to have you on board!

polenta lasagna casserole recipe Italian authentic

Polenta Lasagna
 
A Polenta casserole from Southern Italy.
:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For the Polenta:
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • For the Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ lb ground beef
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 2 cans (15 oz) petite diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ lb fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced, or 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
Instructions
  1. To make the polenta: In a large saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Slowly add the cornmeal in a thin, steady stream while whisking constantly to prevent lumps, then add the salt. When the polenta begins to bubble, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, whisking steadily, until the mixture is thick and pulls away from the pot, 15-20 minutes.
  2. Oil two 8-inch square baking pans and pour the polenta into them, dividing equally. Use a rubber spatula moistened with water to spread the mixture and flatten it evenly. Once it has cooled, place it in the refrigerator until firm, at least one hour. The polenta can be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge covered with plastic wrap.
  3. In the meantime, to make the sauce, melt the butter and olive oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the ground beef and stir to break up any lumps. Cook for 10 minutes until the beef is browned and no pink is remaining.
  4. Add the wine and bring to a rapid boil for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, herbs, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste. Return the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a large rectangle baking dish.
  6. Cut the polenta into eight 4-inch squares and place half of the squares in the bottom of the rectangle baking dish. Spoon half of the sauce evenly over the polenta squares and top with half of the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan-Reggiano. Arrange the remaining 4 polenta squares on top and cover with the remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan-Reggiano cheeses.
  7. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the sauce is bubbling. Let the casserole stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Inspired by Michele Scicolone, Williams Sonoma

 

 

24 Responses

  1. wrote on

    This looks delicious! I’m putting it on “the list.”

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Thank you! So glad to have made your list and thanks for stopping by..

  2. wrote on

    WOW and YUMMMMMM! I need to try something like this, I heart polenta!

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Thanks for the compliment, Sophia, and for stopping by!

  3. wrote on

    Oh wow! What a yummy looking and creative lasagna. I hope you’ll consider adding this to my weekend link-up. We are featuring casseroles. -Savannah http://www.hammocktracks.com

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Thanks, Savannah. I’d be honored to add it to your line-up, and thank you! How do I go about doing that? Off skiing now for the day with my hubby, but will be thrilled to add it this evening.

  4. wrote on

    This looks so insanely delicious. Just got back from Bologna- the ragu there was amazing! You haven’t lived til you’ve tried bolognese in Bologna!!

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Thank you! I’m confident you’ll find that this ragu as well as the Spaghetti with Authentic Ragu di Carne (http://www.daringgourmet.com/2013/01/08/36/) is as good as what you fell in love with in Bologna. Every time I make and eat it I reminisce about my time spent in Italy. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. wrote on

    This looks seriously incredible. Pinning because I really really want to try this! I LOVE Italian food and this is looking perfectly authentic. Thanks for the post!

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Thank you very much for your compliment, Jaclyn. I hope you do make it – and be sure to let me know what you think. If you love authentic Italian food, you’ll also love the Chicken Marsala, Ragu di Carne and Chicken Cacciatore (another polenta dish). Thanks for visiting – I hope you return! Happy Cooking!

  6. Anonymous

    wrote on

    I don’t know when the Italians started eating polenta, but since corn comes from the “New World,” it couldn’t have been before 1492.

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Polenta dates back to ancient Roman times, was a staple in Roman cuisine, and was made with a variety of grains. When maize was introduced to Europe in the 15th-16th century, Italians started making polenta with cornmeal as well.

  7. annie

    wrote on

    i made this for supper and i love it very much! i was trying to find an alternative to lasagna and i found this! i have to tell you it was way easier to make than a traditional lasagna! thank you for a wonderful recipe!

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Annie, I’m so happy to hear that! And you’re right, it is less work than traditional lasagna. I think many people look at the picture though and feel a little intimidated by it, not taking the time to read just how simple it is to make. It looks impressive, tastes impressive, and is impressively simple! Thanks so much for your feedback!

  8. julia

    wrote on

    can’t wait to make this!

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Julia! Let me know how it goes!

  9. Jerms

    wrote on

    1)love this recipe 2)not to be a jerk, but…here was *no corn* in ancient Rome, folks, though they did make polenta-like things out of chestnuts and farro. Sorry, anthropology and history-minded person can’t let that slide.

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Jerms, no one said there was corn in ancient Rome, so no argument there. As I said in a previous comment, “Polenta dates back to ancient Roman times, was a staple in Roman cuisine, and was made with a variety of grains. When maize was introduced to Europe in the 15th-16th century, Italians started making polenta with cornmeal as well.” I can imagine that a chestnut-based polenta would taste pretty amazing! I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe, thanks. Best, Kimberly

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply