Monday, February 21, 2011

Polenta Lasagna Recipe

1 lb of ground beef or Italian sausage
1 tsp of red chili flakes
about 1/2 lb of mushrooms, white or crimini rough chop
1 onion rough chop
3-4 cloves of garlic rough chop
1 tbl olive oil
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatos
1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
1 red pepper rough chop
1 zucchini, squash or egg plant, whichever you want, fairly even chop
leafs of 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
one bunch of fresh basil torn into peices
1/2 C red wine- merlot, or aged balsamic vinegar
salt pepper

2 C polenta
3 tbl unsalted butter
dash of olive oil
5 C water
salt pepper

1 medium sized container
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 C grated asiago
1/4 C grated parmesan
1/4 C fresh parsley with stems
3 cloves garlic
white pepper to taste

Top with around 6 slices of provolone

First start the ragu, you will want to let it cook for at least 3 hours to let the liquid cook down.  First heat a pot on medium heat.  Add olive oil, wait a few seconds, and then add your meat of choice.  Don't stir too much because you want to achieve browning on the meat.  Add chili flakes, salt, pepper, fresh thyme leaves and stir (if you don't have fresh thyme you can use fresh parsley).  Add the mushrooms, onions, red pepper and garlic and stir to combine, let cook down for about 5 minutes.  The reason they only need a rough chop is because of the lengthy cooking time, all of these will melt into the sauce so the if the cuts aren't perfect it is fine.  Add the zucchini, stir and let cook down for 5 more minutes.  Add your wine or vinegar, let cook off and de-glaze for a minute or two.  Add both cans of tomatoes, stir to incorporate, and bring to a boil.  Once you get a nice rolling boil reduce the heat to medium low, put the cap on the pot but leave a crack for steam to escape and stir about every 20 minutes until the liquid has reduced.  The ragu should not be very runny, if you want to speed up this process you can use some tomato paste.

Melt the butter in the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add the polenta and mix so that it is coated in the butter.  Slowly add the water and whisk together.  Increase heat to medium high and continue stirring.  It is O.K. if the polenta is not completely cooked because it will finish cooking in the oven.  You want to stop cooking the polenta when it begins to become tender, it should not be soupy but it should not be firm.  Be sure to stir constantly or the bottom of your pan will burn.

Mix all ingredients plus a dash or two of olive oil in a food processor or mixing bowl and blend together

Preheat oven to 375

To put the lasagna together first spray your lasagna pan with non-stick spray.  Spoon some ragu into the pan until it is lightly covered.  Put a few dollops of polenta on top of ragu and smooth out with  with a spatula.  Top with enough of the ricotta mixture to have a good layer on top of the polenta, then add another layer of ragu.  Repeat process, you should end up with the ragu on top.  Cover with the provolone.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is nice and golden brown.  Let cool for about 15 minutes.

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