Makes 4 Servings
Hands-On Time: 35 minutes
Total Preparation Time: 50 Minutes
arugula and cherry tomato salad
1 medium onion
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage
2 garlic cloves
One 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 16- to 18- oz log cooked plain polenta
Flour for dusting the polenta
2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano
4 oz sliced mozzarella
Place an oven rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil an 8-inch square pan.
Finely chop the onion (about 1 cup). Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Slice the sausage into 1/2 inch pieces using a serrated knife; add the sausage to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the sausage is no longer pink. Reduce the heat to medium-low; add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until it has softened. Press the garlic (about 2 teaspoons) into the pan and cook for 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes with their juice and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until most of the juice has evaporated and the mixture is saucy; season with salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, cut the polenta into 1/3- inch-thick slices. Heat another 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium, dip half the polenta slices in the flour to coat lightly on both sides and add to the pan. Sauté the polenta for about 5 minutes, or until it begins to brown; turn the polenta and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the second side begins to brown. Remove the polenta slices and arrange them to cover the bottom of the oiled baking pan. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and repeat with the remaining polenta (remove the slices to a plate if the sauce has not finished cooking.)
Microplane-grate the Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1 1/3 cups) or grate on the fine side of a box grater (about 2/3 cup). When the sauce has finished cooking, spoon half over the polenta in the pan. Top it with half the mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Repeat layering the remaining polenta, sauce, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Bake the lasagne for 15 to 20 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned. Cut into 4 servings and transfer to dinner plates.
Polenta, is Italian corn meal mush. It is made by adding cornmeal to water and simmering it until is cooked and thickened. It can be eaten right away as a kind of soft savory pudding or poured out and set aside to become firm. Many supermarkets now carry this firm version in log form. I prefer the plain unseasoned log.
Recently several companies have come out with fire roasted tomato products and I prefer them to the plain canned tomatoes because I think they add a hint of smoke and depth of flavor to a dish. My favorite brand (and I believe the first brand to invent this product) is Muir Glen. Muir Glen is also organic, always a happy thing.