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Polenta Pasticciata con Ragu di Carne, a dish from the Campania region of southern Italy.
For the polenta:
In a large saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Then slowly add the cornmeal in a thin, steady stream while whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Then add the salt. When the polenta begins to bubble, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, whisking steadily, until the mixture is thick and pulls away from the pot, about 30 minutes. Then remove it from the heat.
Oil two 8-inch square baking pans and pour the polenta into them, dividing equally. Use a rubber spatula moistened with water to spread the mixture and flatten it evenly. Allow it to cool to room temp. Once it has cooled, place it in the refrigerator until firm, at least one hour. The polenta can be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge covered with plastic wrap.
In the meantime, to make the sauce, melt the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the ground beef and stir to break up any lumps. Cook for 10 minutes until the beef is browned and no pink is remaining.
Add the wine and bring to a rapid boil for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, herbs, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste. Return the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a large rectangle baking dish. Cut the polenta into eight 4-inch squares and place half of the squares in the bottom of the rectangle baking dish. Spoon half of the sauce evenly over the polenta squares and top with half of the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan. Arrange the remaining 4 polenta squares on top and cover with the remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the sauce is bubbling. Let the casserole stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe inspired by Williams Sonoma.
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Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!