Tuesday, February 17, 2009

No snowshoeing, but there was Polenta Lasagna

As the title indicates, while there was still some snow on the ground up in Maine, we didn't feel it was sufficient to snowshoe on... so we mainly kicked back, relaxed, and cooked a bit. We made a dynamite lentil soup, but that was pretty basic, so I thought it would be more interesting to focus on the much stranger(to me) polenta lasagna pictured to the left. The recipe of choice was from Ken Charney's The Bold Vegetarian Chef (this non-vegetarian's favorite veg cookbook btw), but I don't have that cookbook on hand at the moment, so I can't give a full blown recipe... but then I thought the recipe could be improved, so maybe that's for the best.

The basic outline is to, of course, make a giant pot of polenta... I believe it was 2 cups of polenta to 10 cups of liquid IIRC... which is fairly wet compared to many recipes, and thus we had to stir for almost an hour to get it firm enough... but damn if that wasn't some fantastic polenta. Then we just poured it into an oiled 9x13 baking pan and cooled it over night. The next day you just make a tomato sauce... however you normally make it, though I would make sure it wasn't too sweet( a problem with Ken's recipe I think), as the polenta brings some sweetness too. Then you pop your firm polenta(reminiscent of corn bread) out of the dish, and cut it once vertically and once horizontally so you have four pieces. Put two polenta pieces back in the pan, and spoon half your sauce over them... layer some cheese (mozzarella and Parmesan in our case)... and then place the other two polenta pieces on top before spooning the rest of the sauce (leaving a ladle full or two for a last covering) and the the rest of the cheese. Stick it into a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes... until it's heated through and the cheese is melted.

Very delicious, and something I'd never had before. As I mentioned, I thought the recipe we used was a little too sweet (though Anna said the leftovers had much more mellow and better melded flavors), but it was really quite good. I'm going to keep my eye out for interesting variations, and will pass along any successful future attempts that we make.