1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
4 cups water
1 cup instant polenta (such as Contadina)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons butter, cut into small pieces
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 400°.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 8 minutes. Add mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and garlic, and cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in wine, rosemary, and tomato paste; reduce heat to medium, and cook 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, and cook until thick (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat.
Bring water to a boil in saucepan; stir in polenta and 1 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to low; cook until thick (about 5 minutes), stirring frequently.
Spread one-third of polenta mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with 1 teaspoon oil. Spread half of tomato sauce over polenta, and top with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Drop half of the ricotta cheese by spoonfuls onto the Parmesan cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with polenta. Top with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and butter. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until bubbly.
I really enjoyed this recipe, with a few tweaks. In addition to rosemary I added thyme and basil, as well as fresh spinach to the tomato mixture. I agree with another reviewer who said there was not nearly enough polenta to spread on the pan, so I used an 18 oz. package of organic polenta as my base. I didn't add a top layer of polenta or butter, just the tomato mixture topped with ricotta and parmesan (though did add a bit more of the cheese than specified as I am a cheese lover!).
This sounded great in theory, but ended up being way too heavy-handed on the rosemary (1/2 a teaspoon is plenty), and there was not enough polenta to easily do three layers in a 9X13'' pan. This would be great wil some basil & spinach in it. Next time, I will also mix the parmesan & butter into the polenta and shape it into wedges, with the tomato & ricotta on top. With some tweaks, this could be a weekday-dinner mainstay! :D
I've made this many times and absolutely love it. I usually make 3/4 of the recipe in a 8-inch square pan, which gives the two of us some leftovers for lunch. My only change is to use more ricotta, but I use the fat-free (1/2 the calories!). If you assemble it the night before, it's easy to pop it into a hot oven after work and the flavors have time to meld. Served with CL roasted cauliflower (cooked at 400 also) and some steamed spinach.
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