The Recipes

Polenta Stacks

I decided to layer in some prosciutto with my veggies and polenta, but you can certainly make this a veggie option.  I love this idea because it is a perfect way to either use up something you bought at the store, or a good pantry meal for the nights when you don't have anything in the fridge and didn't have time to pop into the grocery store.  Plus, I was out of basic red sauce, so I wanted to make a big batch to have on hand in the freezer.

Polenta Stacks


Ingredients:

- 1/2 c. polenta, cooked to package instructions
- 1 c. frozen spinach
- 3 slices of prosciutto
- 1 28-oz. can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1 rib celery, cut into large chunks
- 1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- a few grates of fresh nutmeg
- a healthy pinch of crushed red pepper
- a handful of basil, thinly sliced for garnish
- salt
- pepper
- olive oil

Start the polenta cooking.  You will have to whisk it constantly to keep lumps from forming.  Traditional polenta will take 20-30 minutes, while a quick-cooking polenta will be ready in a minute or two.  While it is cooking, start making your red sauce.

Put the onion, carrot and celery in a food processor and puree.  In a large pot, heat a light layer of olive oil.  Add in the vegetable mixture and season with salt.  Allow this to cook for 10-12 minutes over medium low heat.  Be patient!  Letting the veggies cook and brown is critical to developing flavor.  Add in the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes more.  Add in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Let the sauce simmer away while you make the rest of the dish.  The longer it cooks, the more the flavors will come together.

When the polenta is cooked, pour it onto a plate or other flat dish with sides.  Let it cool for 30-45 minutes.  Once it has set, use a cookie cutter to cut out small circles.  While the polenta is cooling, cook the frozen spinach, then season it up with salt, pepper, and a few grates of fresh nutmeg.

You're ready to assemble!  Ladle some sauce onto the bottom of the plate.  Place one polenta piece, top it with a tiny dollop of sauce, then the spinach, and finally the prosciutto.  Repeat this process.  Top the stack with one more piece of polenta, a dollop of sauce, and the basil.