Monday, April 23, 2012

Polenta Lasagna

The wonders of a rainy weekend

PJ days, dress making, movie watching and lots of cooking

Remember that kale I showed you?

Well, I decided to put it to good use in a polenta lasagna

At Lily's we traditionally made it vegetarian with
three cheeses, spinach or swiss chard and homemade tomato sauce
The recipe is in the revised Lily's Cafe Cookbook

Yesterday I made it a bit differently with
sautéed kale, Bilinski's chicken sausage, and this goat's milk "ricotta"
which I think was just a weirdly set greek style yogurt, but it worked
wonderfully and gave the dish a nice little lift

I thought I'd share the recipe in case it's raining where you are
and you are inspired to cook in your pajamas


Bring 5 cups of cold water and 1 scant T of kosher salt to a boil
I added loads of chives from my garden to the water and some chopped parsley
Once it boils, whisk in 1-1/2 cups good quality polenta corn meal

Turn your heat to med low and continue whisking until a nice thick mush has formed

At this point, I turn the heat to low, and leave it to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often
This makes the polenta extra creamy and delicious
When it is just about done I stir in 1 T of unsalted butter for good measure
you can add cheese here too, but since I was going to use dairy in the lasagna I left it out

While the polenta is cooking, slice up 4 chicken sausages if you choose to use them
and sauté them in a large pan with a bit of olive oil to release their juices and
caramelize them a bit.
Remove from the pan and set aside

In that same pan add a bit more oil and 2 cloves of chopped garlic
cook for 30 seconds
 add your kale (which has been washed and relieved of any thick center stems)
a bit of salt to taste, some red pepper flakes and a pinch of oregano
sauté until tender - this didn't take much since my kale was young and sweet
Honestly, I would choose swiss chard for the green in the summer for just that reason

Putting it all together:

Lightly oil a 9 x 13 baking pan and spread half of the still hot polenta
in a layer on the bottom
Cover this with 1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce
dot with 1 cup of ricotta cheese
spread half of the greens on this
then half the sausage
cover with grated parmesan

-at Lily's we would also use fontina or jack or mozzarella etc.
feel free to go crazy-

Spread remaining polenta on top of this and repeat the layers one more time
I dot the top with a bit of tomato sauce at the end if I have some left over

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, turning once

Let stand for 15 minutes to set before serving


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