Polenta Casserole au Gratin

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polenta-casserole

Please ignore those insipid cooked polenta rolls you find in the supermarket: Making the polenta base takes minutes, and is the bulk of the work for this delicious dish, which will serve a good dozen guests! Au Gratin just means it is topped with a crust: Yum!

  • 12 ServingsServings

Ingredients

  • 9 cup milk (low fat, ok)
  • a few drops olive oil
  • salt to taste (remember the cheese is salty so go easy)
  • 3 cup coarse cornmeal
  • 2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or other strong cheese
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 5 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • good pinch dried pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Topping

  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs (gluten free ok)
  • 3 tablespoon butter

Preparation

Boil milk, oil, and salt in a large pot. Add the cornmeal and stir until thick. This should take about ten minutes. Stir in the cheese. Pour the mixture into a greased cookie sheet, in a layer no more than half an inch thick. You might fill one and a half cookie sheets. Let the polenta cool.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

While the polenta is cooling, make the sauce: in a food processor, coarsely grind the garlic, basil and onion. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining sauce ingredients.

Grease an 11-by-14-inch lasagna pan. Make one layer polenta, making sure you leave no blank spaces. Add half the sauce. Repeat: one layer polenta, one layer sauce. Bake the casserole for about 45 minutes, or until the dish looks bubbly and hot. Mix the bread crumbs with the butter, and sprinkle over the dish. Bake another 10 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting into squares.