Polenta Pasticciata

TOTAL TIME: 2 hr 10 min
Prep: 55 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 1 hr 15 min
 
YIELD: 6 servings
LEVEL: --

ingredients

RED SAUCE:
  • One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (pomodori pelati)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and drizzling
  • 1/2 red onion, medium diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced into chunks
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
POLENTA:
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • One 16-ounce box instant polenta
  • 1 pound mozzarella, grated
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
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Directions

For the red sauce: In a food processor, puree the tomatoes to a smooth, creamy consistency.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic before the onions start browning a bit. If you'd like to make the sauce spicier, add a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Add the tomatoes and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Simmer over medium-low heat until the sauce has a thickened. Strive for balance in the consistency of the sauce; it should be fluid but not overly wet, about 30 minutes.

For the polenta: Pour the oil in a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and swirl to coat. Set aside.

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat and add a big pinch of salt (follow the directions on the polenta package if they differ). Lower the heat to medium and gradually whisk in the polenta, stirring constantly. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the polenta thickens and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 5 minutes. Transfer the polenta to the prepared loaf pan and let cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator for one hour.

To assemble: Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Brush a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with olive oil.

Turn the polenta out on a cutting board and slice into 1-inch slices.

Assemble the pasticciata in the following order: One layer of polenta, one layer of sauce, a generous sprinkle of grated mozzarella and another of Parmesan. Keep layering until there is no more polenta (about two layers), then top with a final layer of sauce and cheese. (Reserve a little Parmesan for serving.)

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, then broil for a final 3 to 5 minutes to brown the cheese top and make it beautiful. Serve dressed with some olive oil, salt and pepper and a final touch of grated Parmesan.

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Newest Ratings and Reviews

Read all 3 reviews

  • on August 16, 2014

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    This dish was simple and absolutely DELICIOUS! I'm not a huge fan of polenta, but my husband grew up on it & loves it. This is a perfect way for him to get his polenta fix while still making me happy too. There isn't a recipe of Gabriele & Debi's we've tried that we haven't loved- simple recipes that turn out fantastic results!!

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  • on June 22, 2014

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    I prefer noodle lasagna, but I love polenta served loose, in a mound. But recently I bought a brand of polenta grain that is high falootin' but I didn't like it served loose, too loose and like baby food, no texture, and I suppose that is what instant polenta is like too...but that polenta served this way, cut into planks and layered as a substitute lasagna noodle was a very good way to use it. I would suggest cutting the planks thin. And don't get hung up on how many layers or how much mozz you use, I even added ricotta in the layers too, blended the parm in that first. Polenta is good for those who need gluten free, as opposed to real pasta noodles, just sayin'.

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  • on June 21, 2014

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    I made this in individual gratin dishes. I cut the polenta pretty thin and then layered it in individual gratin dishes.. We all enjoyed it very much ! I also drizzled some white truffle oil on top just as they came out of the oven, fantastic!!! We served it with a simple arugula salad dressed with freshly squeezed lemon juice , extra virgin olive oil , salt , pepper and a few Parmesan shavings!

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