Baked Polenta (with Ragu Alla Bolognese)

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First off, a hearty thanks to Meg of Too Many Chefs for featuring last week's lamb-bit as one of their "posts of the week." The site is a "group" food blog, with a wide variety of topics in the posts. Check it out, great content and a cool, somewhat retro design.

Now then, this little work of deliciousness pictured above was my attempt to use the coarse-ground cornmeal that has been sitting in my cupboard for over a year. I still haven't returned Nick's copy of Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Italian Cooking, so I began searching it for polenta recipes. To my delight there was a recipe for this baked polenta (its a bit like lasagna, only with sheets of polenta instead of lasagna noodles), which required ragu alla bolognese. I just happened to have a container of it in the freezer from a batch I made several weeks ago.

The polenta was easier to make than I might have imagined, and turned out quite well. The ragu was combined with a quickly-whipped-up bechamel sauce. The only thing I added to the recipe was the sprinkling of sauteed mushrooms and onions over the top, but I found these to be unnescessary. Distracting even.

I won't post the recipe here. You should buy the book. Its fabulous, and many people feel content to consider it the authority on Italian cooking, and everything I've made from it turned out wonderfully (in fact, I've got a stew cooking at home right now, also drawn from this book--and yes, its lamb stew).

The drawback to me telling you all of this is that Nick is going to want the book back now.


Nic said...

The polenta looks great! I've been meaning to try making it for some time now, and this looks like a great use - besides just lumping on the plate as a side dish. Mm... inspiration makes me hungry!

Sam said...

that looks so so so so tasty.
Now you've made me hungry!
I don't even like polenta.
Well, i like it sometimes, it has to be a pedigree one - and this certainly looks like a best in show!

Nick said...

Damn straight I want my book back.

drbiggles said...

Dangit Monkey Boy. Sometimes it's better just not to post. Secrets.


Kitchen Monkey said...

Thanks Nic: I'm of the mind that if a food has to be "lumped," it probably shouldn't be eaten.

Sam: I was never crazy about polenta myself, but this was extremely good. As Marcella says in the book, its all about cooking it for a long time and stirring frequently.

Nick: You'll get your damned book when I'm ready! How about this evening?

Dr. Biggles: That's "Mr. Monkey Boy" to you.

Cate said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cate said...

Only removed my post because I couldn't figure out a way to fix a dang typo. :)

Not a fan of polenta, but your picture alone is making me rethink that. And I don't have Marcella's book either ... perhaps time for another cookbook purchase, not that I need too much arm-twisting in that department. Nice blog. I have a link for you on mine.

Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

I'm so glad I work in a library, I going to have to check out that book and give it a try. It looks fabulous!

Hoodia said...

Help me Dude, I think I'm lost..... I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw him in a car lot yesterday, which is really strange because the last time I saw him was in the supermarket. No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender". He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a San Diego cosmetic surgery doctor ,to fit into those blue suede shoes of yours. But Elvis said in the Ghetto nobody can afford a San Diego plastic surgery doctor. Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger. Then I'm gonna go round and see Michael Jackson and we're gonna watch a waaaay cool make-over show featuring some Tijuana dentists on the TV in the back of my Hummer. And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . . "You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on " Strange day or what? :-)