With plenty of ground beef and cheese, this layered bake goes over big on the dinner table. Adjust the amount of hot pepper sauce to suit your taste.—Angela Biggin, Lyons, Illinois
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups water, divided
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
- 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano and dill weed
- Dash hot pepper sauce
- 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- For polenta, in a small bowl, whisk cornmeal, salt and 1 cup water until smooth. In a large saucepan, bring remaining water to a boil. Add cornmeal mixture, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 3 minutes or until thickened.
- Reduce heat to low; cover and cook for 15 minutes. Divide mixture between two greased 8-in. square baking dishes. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 1-1/2 hours.
- In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion, green pepper and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, mushrooms, herbs and hot pepper sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until thickened.
- Loosen one polenta from sides and bottom of dish; invert onto a waxed paper-lined baking sheet and set aside. Spoon half of the meat mixture over the remaining polenta. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella and half the Parmesan cheese. Top with reserved polenta and remaining meat mixture.
- Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until heated through. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Yield: 6 servings.
Originally published as Ole Polenta Casserole in Country Woman January/February 2005, p29
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