In Italian, a pasticcio is a mess. In the case of polenta pasticciata, it’s a glorious, wonderful, rib-sticking mess, made by layering soft polenta with lasagna-like fillings, then baking it until browned on top. Here, we fill it with a rich mushroom ragù, then drizzle a cheesy Parmesan cream all over it.

Ingredients

1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream
3 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
Double recipe Smooth and Creamy Polenta
1 quart Mushroom Ragù (see note) or Ragù Bolognese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream over medium heat until simmering. Lower heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often to prevent scorching, until cream is reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Whisk in 2 ounces grated parmesan cheese until melted. Cover and set aside.

Step 2
In a medium (roughly 2-quart) baking dish, spread a thin, even layer of polenta. Top with a small amount of the remaining grated Parmesan. Spoon half of the ragù on top in an even layer and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cream.

Step 3
Gently spread another even layer of polenta on top of ragù, covering it completely, then top with more grated Parmesan and the rest of the ragù. Drizzle 2 more tablespoons Parmesan cream on top. Spread a final thin layer of polenta on top, dot with butter and top with more grated Parmesan.

Step 4
Bake polenta lasagna until heated throughout and golden on top, about 20 minutes. Let stand until cooled slightly so that the polenta sets a little, about 20 minutes. Reheat remaining parmesan cream, thinning with a little water if necessary, and serve polenta lasagna, spooning Parmesan cream on top.