This healthier-for-you version of classic lasagna uses creamy cornmeal polenta–that Italian peasant staple–instead of wheat noodles. You can even skip a step and buy pre-made polenta!
Layered with cheeses and basil, then served with a quick and easy homemade tomato sauce, this is one recipe that your friends and family will ask for again and again. Polenta Lasagna is also perfect for potlucks.
4 cups water
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-ounce can Italian-style diced tomatoes
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
To make the polenta:
1. In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups of the water to a boil over high heat.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the cornmeal, salt, and the remaining 1 cup water. Slowly add to the boiling water, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until the mixture returns to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until very thick. (The mixture is thick enough when a spoon inserted in the center stands upright.) Remove from heat.
3. Lightly coat an 8-inch x 8-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Dollop one third of the polenta into the prepared dish and spread in an even layer. In another medium bowl, combine the mozzarella, Parmesan, and basil. Sprinkle half over the polenta. Dollop and spread another third of the polenta over the cheese mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cheese mixture. Top with the remaining polenta in an even layer. Let the dish stand until completely cool. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight, or until firm.
4. Preheat oven to 350F. Uncover polenta and bake for 40 minutes, or until lightly golden and heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
To Make the Sauce:
1. Lightly coat a medium saucepan with nonstick spray and warm over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the tomatoes (with juice), tomato paste, sugar, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat.
2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the flavors are well-blended. Stir in the basil and cook for 2 minutes longer. Serve with the polenta.