We had some friends over for dinner, which was an excellent excuse to try this recipe that my friend, Claire had posted on her blog. Claire got the original idea from her friend Heather, and then took it from there. I basically took Claire's version and did my own thing. This was a delicious twist on traditional lasagna that we all enjoyed. A fresh green salad rounded out our meal. Yum!
2 tubes of heat and serve polenta
1 onion, diced
1 package of sliced mushrooms (I used crimini)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. of hot Italian pork sausage
1 lb. of lean ground beef or bison
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
sprinkle of garlic powder (optional)
sprinkle of chili powder (optional)
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
1 ball of part-skim mozzarella, shredded
Parmesan cheese, grated
1 container of low-fat ricotta cheese
Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour 1/3 of the marinara sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and set aside.
Slice polenta into rounds and brown on both sides in a non stick skillet. Set aside.
Saute onions, mushrooms in the same skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil until the veggies are soft. Add garlic and saute for another 30 seconds. Set aside.
Remove casings from pork sausage links and brown in the same skillet with the ground beef (or bison). While browning, season with salt, pepper, and the dried herbs and spices. When meat is cooked, pour the remaining marinara sauce in with the meat and stir to combine. Add tomato paste and reduce the meat/sauce mixture until thick and bubbly. Set aside.
In the 9 x 13 baking dish place a layer of the cooked polenta rounds, the cooked veggies, a layer of half of the shredded mozzarella cheese, a layer of the ricotta, a layer of the meat/sauce mixture, another layer of the polenta rounds, a layer of the remaining mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese for topping. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, uncovered. Remove from oven, and cool for 5 minutes before cutting. Cut into squares and serve immediately.
Oh man, this was fan-freakin'-tastic! We all loved this take on lasagna and substituting polenta in place of traditional noodles made it really special. Once again, we were so eager to start eating I forgot to take a photo. It ended up plating a little messy, but it tasted awesome. The photo would not have done it justice. Anyway, I highly recommend this dish! Yum!!!