I don’t personally know anyone that doesn’t enjoy a good hot, bubbly homemade lasagna, so I can’t really judge, but I think if I were to meet them, I’d probably give them a good kick in the pants.
OK fiiiiine, maybe not an actual kick in the pants, but truly, person, what’s not to like? I’ve turned the classic into a gluten-free, vegetarian appetizer (and the prettiest one at that).
Have you tried polenta? It’s basically hydrated cornmeal. You can make it with actual cornmeal and any liquid, or you can buy it pre-made in these wonderful tubes. This one is from Trader Joe’s, and perfect for slicing to fry, or even layer in an actual lasagna or other layered dish that is to be baked. It’s a blank slate for flavor, like quinoa or tofu, it takes on whatever flavor you cook into it. Here, I chose the butter flavor. Yeah.
Slice up your polenta and fry it in a little butter until you get crisp, lightly browned sides.
Add a dollop of good-quality ricotta (try making your own! It’s fabulous and so easy), plenty of freshly-cracked pepper…
a spoonful of the garlic, onion, tomato, squash, and zucchini you sautéed (also in butter), top with a bit of marinara sauce, and of course, lots of mozzarella cheese. Broil until the cheese is nice and broil-y.
After they come out of the oven, garnish with fresh basil. I’m loving my plant from TJ, just water once a week and I’ve had fresh basil for a couple of weeks now.
Not only are these a delicious, impressive little appetizer, but they’re also perfect for an after-the-holidays-health-conscious dinner. Served alongside all your leftover fudge and sugar cookies…..
The delicious flavors of lasagna in bite sized pieces, perfect for parties!
- 18 oz. tube of hydrated polenta Trader Joe's has a great one
- 4 T butter divided
- 16 oz. high-quality ricotta
- freshly-cracked pepper
- 1 onion diced
- 1 squash diced
- 1 zucchini diced
- 1 to mato diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 c marinara sauce
- 8 oz. high-quality mozzarella
- fresh basil
- Melt 2 T of butter over medium heat in frying pan. Slice polenta into 1/2" slices and fry, flipping after each side has lightly-browned and crisped up (about 5 minutes each side)
- Melt the other 2 T of butter in second frying pan. Saute all of the vegetables in the butter until soft. Remove from heat and drain of all liquid.
- Turn on broiler. Spread dollop of ricotta on each polenta slice, then salt and pepper. Add spoonful of veggies, then marinara sauce, then slice of mozzarella.
- Broil until cheese has melted. Serve immediately.