Polenta withTomato Basil Sauce

Polanta Casserole 033Here at the Infinite Kitchen, fall has arrived. The nights are very cool now lending themselves to thoughts of comfort dinners such as polenta with tomato basil sauce. This particular casserole is super easy because it is made using a polenta roll carried by my local Trader Joe. In the winter, I often make polenta using Italian corn meal and I love eating it like corn meal mush (well actually it IS corn meal mush), covering it with a lovely thick tomato sauce and topping it with sausages. Today I am making a simpler version using a more solid form of polenta in the shape of sliced circles of corn meal topped with a simple sauce and baked in the oven. I promise that this version is just as delicious and a bit lighter than the winter version. I’ll save that recipe for several months from now.

The only ingredients you need for this polenta casserole are a roll of solid polenta or two rolls if you are feeding more than two or three people, two cups of homemade tomato basil sauce, reggiano parmesan cheese, possibly grated mozzarella if you wish, some finely chopped fresh basil, salt and pepper. This is an inexpensive dish that can be served as a first course, or as a main course with added meat such as sausages or a roast and some vegetable side dishes such as broccoli rabe, or spinach or a salad. For the working mom, this dinner takes only a few minutes to put together and 15 to 30 minutes to bake. For me, as one person, this dinner also makes a nice lunch the following day. In the words of Milton Berle, an old comedian that probably no one remembers,  “Try it. You’ll like it.”

Ingredients:

1 or 2 rolls of corn meal polenta

2 tsps of olive oil and several sprays of olive oil (I use a Misto sprayer)

1/4 cup of all purpose flour or white whole wheat flour for dredging

2 tbsp or more of grated parmesan reggiano cheese

1/2 to 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese (optional)

2 cups of tomato basil sauce

2 tbsp of finely shredded or chopped fresh basil

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350º. Grease a ceramic 9″ or 10″ round baking dish.

Polanta Casserole 003Remove the corn meal polenta from the wrapper. Lay it on a wooden board and slice it into 1/4 inch rounds. Pour the flour out on a plate and salt and pepper it. Stir it with a fork to incorporate the seasonings.Dredge the polenta rounds in the flour on both sides. Set aside.

 

Polanta Casserole 015Spray a non-stick skillet with olive oil and add 1 tsp of olive oil. Heat the skillet on medium high heat until hot and shimmering. Add a single layer of rounds covering the bottom of the skillet.

 

 

Polanta Casserole 024Brown the rounds for 2 to 4 minutes until golden and crispy. Turn and brown the other side also for 2 to 4 minutes until crispy. Remove from skillet and brown the next layer until all the rounds have been sauteed. Set the rounds aside.

 

 

Polanta Casserole 009In a 1 quart saucepan, heat up the tomato basil sauce. Sprinkle on the finely shredded or chopped fresh basil and stir into the sauce. Turn off heat and set aside.

 

 

 

Polanta Casserole 022Polanta Casserole 029Grease a shallow round 9″ or 10″ baking dish with olive oil spray or just olive oil. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a single layer of polenta rounds.

Polanta Casserole 030Polanta Casserole 031Pour 1/2 to 1 cup of sauce over the layer. Then sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and grated mozzarella if using it. Place another layer of polenta rounds over the first layer.

Polanta Casserole 032Pour 1/2 to 1 cup of sauce over the top. Sprinkle with parmesan and also with mozzarella, if using it.

 

 

 

Polanta Casserole 033Place the casserole in the oven and bake until sides are bubbling and top looks browned. Save leftovers for lunch the next day.

 

 

Polenta Casserole with Tomato Basil Sauce

Polenta Casserole with Tomato Basil Sauce

Ingredients

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 or 2 rolls of corn meal polenta
  • 2 tsps of olive oil and several sprays of olive oil (I use a Misto sprayer)
  • 1/4 cup of all purpose flour or white whole wheat flour for dredging
  • 2 tbsp or more of grated parmesan reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • 2 cups of tomato basil sauce
  • 2 tbsp of finely shredded or chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Directions:
  2. * Pre-heat oven to 350º.* Grease a ceramic 9" or 10" round baking dish.
  3. Remove the corn meal polenta from the wrapper. Lay it on a wooden board and slice it into 1/4 inch rounds. Pour the flour out on a plate and salt and pepper it. Stir it with a fork to incorporate the seasonings.Dredge the polenta rounds in the flour on both sides. Set aside.
  4. Spray a non-stick skillet with olive oil and add 1 tsp of olive oil. Heat the skillet on medium high heat until hot and shimmering. Add a single layer of rounds covering the bottom of the skillet.
  5. Brown the rounds for 2 to 4 minutes until golden and crispy. Turn and brown the other side also for 2 to 4 minutes until crispy. Remove from skillet and brown the next layer until all the rounds have been sauteed. Set the rounds aside.
  6. In a 1 quart saucepan, heat up the tomato basil sauce. Sprinkle in the finely shredded or chopped fresh basil and stir into the sauce. Set aside.
  7. Grease a shallow round 9" or 10" baking dish with olive oil spray or just olive oil. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a single layer of polenta rounds.
  8. Pour 1/2 to 1 cup of sauce over the layer. Then sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and grated mozzarella if using it. Place another layer of polenta rounds over the first layer. Pour 1/2 to 1 cup of sauce over the top. Sprinkle with parmesan and also with mozzarella, if using it.
  9. Place the casserole in the oven and bake until sides are bubbling and top looks browned. Save leftovers for lunch the next day.
http://www.theinfinitekitchen.com/polenta-withtomato-basil-sauce/

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One Comment

  1. Polenta is usually thought of as a rather plebeian dish. Count on you to make it elegant…