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.
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
Step 1Preheat 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 2In 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 3Gently 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 4Bake 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.