Polenta with Hunter Sauce

Back in April I came across this recipe and I absolutely LOVE it! It’s so tasty I can’t even stand it! Creamy polenta is covered with a savory tomato sauce with mushrooms and garlic and topped with melty, chewy cheese. YUM!

Not the prettiest presentation, but certainly one of the tastiest!

I think I’ve made this at least once a month since getting the recipe. I never get tired of it—in fact, I’m usually sad when the last portion is doled out. It has the flavors of lasagna without all the work, which is the best part! The hardest thing about making this recipe is breaking apart the store-bought polenta! I swear, it could not get easier!

Polenta with Hunter Sauce

(By Kate Slate, Huffington Post)

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 large garlic cloves, minced

8 ounces cremini or white mushrooms, thickly sliced (I buy the pre-sliced ones)

1 1/4 cups bottled marinara sauce (my favorite is Ragu Super Chunky Mushroom)

1 tube (18 ounces) precooked polenta (I’ve always used the Italian flavor)

3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Cook’s Note

I like my dish on the saucier side, so I used 2 cups of marinara sauce and probably 1 1/4 cups shredded cheese.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 8-inch square baking pan or dish.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they just begin to give up their liquid, about 3 minutes. Stir in the marinara sauce and set aside.

3. With your fingers, crumble the polenta into a bowl. HEADS UP: When cutting open the polenta package, do it over the sink as there is some liquid in the package. Measure out 1/2 cup of the polenta and combine in a small bowl with the mozzarella. Press the remaining polenta into the bottom of the baking pan.

4. Cover the polenta with the mushroom sauce. Top the sauce with the polenta-mozzarella mixture.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving (I can never do this, it just looks too good!).

Left to right: polenta pressed into bottom of pan; topped with sauce; covered with the cheese and polenta mixture; fresh out of the oven.

Variations

If you’d like a fancier presentation:

1. Slice polenta into 1/2 inch coins.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they just begin to give up their liquid, about 3 minutes. Stir in the marinara sauce and keep hot.

3. Heat a saute pan over medium heat with a swirl of olive oil. Add the polenta and cook until slightly brown and crisp.

4. Place a few slices of polenta on a plate, top with the marinara sauce and sprinkle mozzarella on top.

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