No, not the movie. Just throwing out some sort of Italian phrasing to intro my latest recipe. This past Wednesday I raided my pantry and decided to make use out of a jar of marinara and a tube of polenta, both of which hail from that glorious wonderland known as Trader Joe's. I had my friend, neighbor, and co-worker Chrissy over to partake, and after only one bite, we both said "yum." I got this recipe originally from a fat-free vegan website, and my version is in no way vegan or fat free. I would hyperlink you to it, but truthfully, I changed the recipe so much that I need to just write it out for you. I took a number of shortcuts and made good use of the fast chopper (you know, the one that makes a ton of noise and serves as an outlet for agression). One last note, it's supposed to be a "lasagna," but it didn't really set up like one, so I'm renaming it a "bake."
Polenta Bake with Portabellas and Spinach (makes 6 servings)
1 18-ounce package prepared polenta
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
1 package of baby portabella mushrooms (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 bunch of fresh spinach, roughly chopped in bite-sized pieces (can substitute kale)
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1 jar Classico Four Cheese Alfredo sauce
1 1/4 cups marinara sauce (homemade or in a jar)
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1 cup Italian 6 Cheese blend, shredded
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray the bottom and sides of an 8x8 baking dish with a non-stick spray and set aside. (I used a different size pan, an 11x7 and it was full...just flex with this).
- Saute' the onions and portabellas in a non-stick skillet on medium/medium high heat until the mushrooms begin to exude their juices. Add the garlic and saute' for one more minute.
- Add the spinach, basil, and 1/4 cup of water. Saute' until the spinach is wilted and the water has evaporated (for the most part...some liquid is ok). Decrease to medium low heat and add the cheese sauce and cook, stirring, until thickened. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired (I like pepper, so I was liberal...I also use kosher salt). Remove from the heat.
- Cut the polenta into 1/4-inch thick slices (a bit of a challenge b/c the polenta sticks to the knife; be patient and find a rhythm with it...maybe try using a little bit of olive oil on the knife). Line the bottom of the baking dish with half of the slices, overlapping slightly if possible. Spread 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce over the polenta, and then spread the spinach mixture over the sauce. Sprinkle the chopped olives over the spinach and top with the remaining polenta. Spread the remaining marinara sauce over the top and sprinkle with Italian cheese blend.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.