Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Stuffed Polenta

I saw this recipe online and had to try it right away, glorified pasta sauce, polenta and cheese? Sign me up. I swear this is easy, I know I say that about everything on this blog, but I really mean it. If you are like me and don't do much with your days, you can start the sauce whenever and let it cook for as long as you want (I am of the school that the longer things cook the better, except for of course some things, like fried eggs where the whole point is the runny yolk). For example, I started this sauce around 1:30 for dinner at 7, besides making it taste really good, and making the house smell good, it makes you either seem impressive or like you have way too much time on your hands when you mention that it has been cooking literally all day when you serve it. Also, I followed the recipe (well mostly, I can't help myself from tweaking a few things) and I ended up with a ton of sauce compared to the polenta (later I realized the recipe says you will, but still....) I ended up freezing about enough sauce to go on a box worth of pasta, which is going to be delicious at some point in the future.

Start with butter. Most good things start with butter. It's just a fact of life. And according to my dad when someone comments on how good something is, there is nearly always butter in it.

Add an onion to the butter.

Then sausages, I used mild but you can use spicy if you like. O and you will have to take them out of the casings, which can be mildly unpleasant, and cold, just warning you.

Once the sausage is browned and broken up, add the mushrooms. The recipe tells you to dice them, I sliced them. I am wild and crazy like that though.

Then play with your eggplant. I find the texture of raw eggplant very odd...

Or be an adult and just cut it up. Sidebar: Do you salt your eggplant and squish out the water before you use it? I researched this very important topic and I think it doesn't really matter unless you are using lots of oil which I am not.

Add the eggplant to the sausage mixture. This is what I call building layers of flavors when I want to sound fancy.

Moving on from the eggplant, toss in everything else, the tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic (I grated it in with my microplane) and whatever else you think it needs. Simmer for at least an hour, tasting every once in awhile to adjust the seasonings.

About half an hour before you want to put it all together, make the polenta. I added 2 bullion cubes to the water I used when making the polenta because that is what Nigella calls for in her polenta recipe and she is really cool so I did it too (I know, I know, would I jump off a cliff lemming style if Nigella did it? Probably). Spread half the polenta in an oven proof dish.

Cover the polenta with a decent layer of the sauce. Then dollop ricotta cheese over the sauce, I think I used more than the recipe called for, but I cant be sure because I didn't measure.

Add the rest of the polenta on top, smooshing it out as best you can (kudos to you if you can get it to cover the bottom layer, I couldn't for love nor money). Top with a bit more sauce.

Add the finishing touch, mozzarella cheese.

Bake until hot and bubbly. (o and in case you missed it earlier, the recipe can be found here)

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