12 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese
2 cups stone-ground yellow cornmeal
28 ounce can whole tomatoes in purée
Cut a third of the cheese into small pieces. Cut remainder into slices.
In large, heavy saucepan, bring 7 cups water to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, and cornmeal in a slow, steady stream. Stir briskly with a wooden spoon until smooth. Break up lumps with back of spoon. Lower heat to medium.
Stir constantly until polenta begins to pull away from the sides of pan. After 20 minutes, add the small pieces of cheese and stir until melted. Continue stirring for another 15 minutes, until polenta is very thick.
Spray an 11 by 14 inch baking pan with nonstick vegetable spray. Pour hot polenta into pan to make an even layer. Let cool at least 2 hours at room temperature. Polenta will harden.
Preheat broiler. Cut polenta, in pan, into 12 squares. Put under broiler for 3 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned and crisp. Remove from broiler.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Meanwhile, purée tomatoes with their liquid in a food processor until fairly smooth. Put in a small heavy saucepan with lots of freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Set aside.
To assemble, put 6 pieces of polenta, touching, side by side in a 10 by 10 inch or 9 by 11 inch casserole. Spoon on half the tomato sauce to cover. Cover tomato sauce with half the cheese slices. Top with another layer of polenta, sauce, and cheese.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.
Recipes 1-2-3 Menu Cookbook:
Morning, Noon, and Night
By Rozanne Gold
Little, Brown and Company
320 pages plus 31 color photos
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created December 1998
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