This evening we made Sausage and Mushroom Polenta “Lasagne” [recipe, via Oprah] and I am very, very sorry to say that we will be eating versions of this meal for four more days. Today is Sunday, we will be eating polenta “lasagne” until Thursday. I might cry. The write-up to this recipe says that “This one could take 35 minutes; but the results taste far more time-consuming,” which is always a bit of a warning. The timing was pretty accurate, but we hadn’t reckoned on what a mess we would make cooking in our newly-cleaned kitchen. It hardly seems worth cleaning up again as we have to get everything out again tomorrow, plus our countertops are being replaced on Tuesday.
This meal is made with three components, as lasagne tends to be; meat, cheese sauce and a solid barrier of carbohydrates. The meat layer is made with sausage meat, fried in butter with garlic, onion, rosemary, portobello mushroom, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Chicken stock and lemon juice add some much-needed liquid. The white layer was a mixture of ricotta cheese, egg, Parmigiano-Reggiano, breadcrumbs and lemon zest. Pasta lasagne sheets were replaced by disks of prepared polenta. Three sets of layers were assembled, with difficulty. The meat was not “saucy” as a tomato-based meat sauce tends to be, so it could only be sort of sprinkled on the polenta disks. The ricotta thickened with breadcrumbs was almost impossible to even smoosh on top of the polenta; it had incredible sticking properties. Eventually we assembled the dish and topped it with shredded mozzarella. Aluminium foil was put over the top and the “lasagne” went into the oven. Once cooked we were perturbed by the anaemic nature of the melted but not browned cheese on top. Against instructions, we removed the foil and returned the dish to the oven until a little browning action had taken place.
I’m sorry to say that this meal lived up to our expectations, which is to say that we didn’t enjoy it at all. The sausage meat was quite fatty; we’d have preferred to use a leaner choice such as ground beef. The ricotta was really stodgy and solid; the sort of food that sticks to the roof of your mouth. The polenta disks weighed everything down; normal lasagne is hearty and filling, this was hefty like lead weights or concrete. Overall not a good dinner. The bacon bagel we resorted to was far more pleasant. Well, I have typed this entry entirely one-handed on account of the baby, and I am tired. My sister in law is currently in the air on her way here after a bit of a delay, perhaps she’d like some lasagne? I doubt it, but there’s always tomorrow. Then we’ll add some golden raisins and pine nuts for Sweet and Savory Polenta “Lasagne”. I can hardly wait.