Polenta Pasticciata, Baked Polenta with Meat Sauce

Tonight's dinner was from Biba's Italian Kitchen. It was one of the recipes that my Mom had marked that she wanted to make. I do not know if she ever made this. But as I was eating tonight I imagined her and my Father enjoying this meal. The polenta, as simple a dish as it is, was the perfect base for this amazing sauce to rest on. I did not follow the recipe as it was written in the book. Mushrooms are not used in our kitchen. But damn it was delicious without them. And I suppose I cheated by using Instant Polenta but seriously it is so much easier and faster!

My version of Polenta Pasticciata, Baked Polenta with Meat Sauce from Biba's Italian Kitchen.

Ingredients-
Instant Polenta, prepared according to package
1 pound mild sausage
1 pound ground pork
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup finelly minced yellow onion
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken broth
3 tbsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper to tast
Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Method-
Prepare the polenta. Spread it 1/2 thick on a cookie sheet and let it cool.

Remove the casing from the sausage and chop very fine. Heat the butter and oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat when the butter foams add the onion and cook stirring 3 to 4 minutes until the onion is pale yellow. Add the sausage and the ground pork. Cook, stirring to break up the meat with a large spoon until the meat loses its raw color, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until it's almost reduced, 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir the tomato paste into the broth and add to the saucepan together with a cup of water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the sauce has a medium thick consistency, 1 to 1 1/2 hour. If the sauce reduces too much add a bit more water. At this point the sauce can be made several days ahead.

Preheat the oven to 400. Warm the polenta, slice and serve with a generous serving of sauce and Parmesan cheese.

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