"The people who give you their food give you their heart" - Cesar Chavez

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nine Layer Polenta Lasagna

Lasagna is very much one of those comfort foods that reminds people of their childhood. I actually never really had lasagna as a kid and I didn't even develop a desire for it until about a week ago. Actually, lasagna will forever remind me of the Garfield cartoons and how Garfield the cat was particularly fond of lasagna. Something funny that I recently learned is that Garfield was born in the kitchen of an Italian restaurant belonging to Mama Leoni and that is how he became addicted to lasagna.

Well, I was neither born in an Italian kitchen nor am I a cat, but after this meal I want to eat more lasagna. I am also unfamiliar with polenta but I have been eager to learn more about this corn based ingredient and how it can be incorporated in dishes. I am all about generously lathering on sauces and ingredients so I was prepared for this to affect the ability of the lasagna to hold itself together. I presume I used too much pesto and while the taste is fabulous, this failed me on the presentation aspect. I will need to work on getting that perfect amounts of sauces to maintain the delicious taste and enable the lasagna to be cut in even pieces and hold together. As with most dishes, I'm looking forward to experimenting and incorporating different cheeses and perhaps eggplant and different meats!

Nine Layer Polenta Lasagna
(For a 9x5 dish)

15 ounces regular polenta
1/4 cup pesto
2 cups fresh spinach
5 roma tomatoes
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
Fresh grated parmesan
Pine nuts

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place a 9x5 glass dish in the oven to heat up.
2. Cut the polenta and tomatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices.
3. Lightly oil the pan and place one layer of the polenta on the bottom of the dish. Cover with the pesto sauce, then layer on the fresh spinach, followed by the tomato slices. Next add half of the mozzarella cheese and then the second layer of polenta.
4. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. Then place the remaining mozzarella on top followed by the parmesan and the pine nuts and broil the dish for a few minutes until it becomes slightly golden and crispy on top.
5. Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy!! I recommend a glass of red wine or a Tecate beer to wash it all down.

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