Rinse eggplant and trim off and discard both ends. Cut eggplant crosswise into 8 equally thick slices. Cut polenta crosswise into 8 equal rounds. Lightly coat a 14- by 17-inch baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. Arrange eggplant and polenta slices in a single layer on sheet. Lightly coat tops of slices with more cooking spray.
Bake in a 425° regular or convection oven until eggplant is soft when pressed and polenta is heated through (cut to test), 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, in an 8- to 10-inch nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, stir onion, garlic, and basil occasionally until onion is lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomato purée and 1/4 cup water; simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until flavors are blended, 5 to 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm over low heat, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is done.
When eggplant is soft, sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan cheeses equally over eggplant and polenta. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.
On each of four dinner plates, place 1 eggplant slice (use largest slices first) and drizzle with 1 tablespoon sauce; top with 1 polenta slice and 1 tablespoon sauce. Repeat until all slices are used. If desired, garnish each stack with rosemary sprig. Spoon remaining sauce around base of eggplant stacks. Serve with breadsticks.
Would make an impressive appetizer or side for a dinner party. I had to add meat for the husband, so I paired it with the chicken only from CL's 'Herbed Chicken' Parmesan and also added the salad greens and buttermilk/avocado dressing from CL's 'Turkey and Romaine Salad.' I also made my stacks casserole style as another reviewer did; used a 7" x 11" Pyrex. Ended up with 6 stacks put extra sauce in between stacks. Fantastic meal!
We are trying to eat vegetarian at least one night per week. This was easy and delicious. We had on hand a precooked polenta with sundried tomatoes and garlic and sauteed it.
Also were in a hurry so used an organic pasta sauce and melted the cheese on the eggplant at the end of the cook time, then assembled them on our plates. We will definitely make again and try the sauce recipe.
My husband and I loved this dish - absolutely easy to assemble and looks and tastes super impressive. I was out of mozzarella, so I sprinkled polenta/eggplant only with freshly grated parmesan, and it still tasted great.
Made it twice & loved it. Both times my husband commented on how great it is. I make my own polenta adding asiago, stock & milk & chill until needed. I stacked the ingredients on the dinner plate putting the it in the oven to melt the cheese.
I really liked how easy this recipe was and how delicious it turned out. The only thing I did differently was that I only stacked them half height and just served two on a plate. Will make this one again.