Everyday Mom's Meals: A Tatsy Twist on Pasta Night

Sunday, January 10, 2021

A Tatsy Twist on Pasta Night

 We love pasta. Like LOVE pasta. It's definitely one of our most eaten meals. All kinds. All flavors. We can't get enough. But we shouldn't eat it as much as we would like, so I am so excited to have such a tasty alternative when those pasta cravings hit. 

Since we were married, Mr. E raved about his aunt's lasagna. It was hands down the best he ever had and he begged me to get the recipe. So, I did...and I promptly told him there was no way I was making it. I swear that recipe had 184 steps LOL. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but it was most definitely an all-day process, and as a newlywed, and then a year later, a new mom, it wasn't happening. 

Fast forward to many years later yes...that long, we were invited over to her house for supper. We were actually working on a project that took multiple sessions, and each time, she let each of us pick what we wanted her to make for supper. One guess as to what my husband chose. Yep. The lasagna. Only one problem...she is now gluten free! So, she made 2 pans. One of the traditional (and yes, it is a fantastic lasagna, and I knew why he had raved about it for so many years) and one with polenta rounds instead of noodles. That version was absolutely delicious as well! 

I had seen polenta on cooking shows a thousand times, and when I worked at Bob Evans, one of my favorite breakfasts was "fried mush" with butter and warm syrup. But I had never made it at home, and knew that had to change. I just had to figure out which pasta sauce I would serve with it. Easy. My slow cooker bolognese sauce that is filled with flavor. 

If you've never seen the precooked, formed polenta, it comes in a tube (think bulk sausage shape) and can usually be found on the dried pasta aisle or the dairy section. Some are shelf stable, some need refrigeration. It slices easily and then can be sauteed in oil, baked, broiled or used in casseroles, like lasagna! 

We felt very fancy the night I made this. Like we were having dinner in a old world Italian restaurant. The boys loved it, and I enjoyed the fact it was like we were eating pasta, but in a new way! 

If you are gluten free and missing some pasta, you will love this! Plus since the sauce cooks separately, you could cook the polenta, and some pasta too, using the sauce for both, and satisfy everyone at your table. 

We won't be giving up our pasta nights any time soon, but I am happy to know I can switch it up now and again with another delicious meal with familiar flavors.

 Polenta with Bolognese Sauce

2 lbs. ground beef

5 TBS olive olive, divided use

1 medium white onion, diced

3 celery ribs, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1/4 c. chicken broth

2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes

3 dried bay leaves

1/2 c. half and half

2 TBS dried parsley, extra for garnish

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (18 oz.) tube precooked polenta, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds 

Salt and Pepper

Parmesan cheese, for serving

 Heat 2 TBS olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Saute onions, celery, carrots and garlic for a few minutes, until softened. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Season with salt and pepper. Drain if needed. Transfer to slow cooker. Add tomatoes and chicken broth. Stir to combine. Lay bay leaves on top. Cook on LOW for 6 hours. When cooked, remove bay leaves and stir in half and half. Leave on warm until ready to serve. To prepare polenta, heat 3 TBS olive oil in large skillet. Carefully place polenta rounds in oil and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. To serve, lay 3-4 rounds of polenta on each plate and top with bolognese sauce. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with Parmesan cheese.  *NOTES* The polenta will splatter when cooking. BE CAREFUL! A splatter screen helps a lot. Do not crowd the pan with polenta. Cook in batches if needed. The sauce can be cooked ahead of time, refrigerated and reheated at time of serving.


Shared at Weekend Potluck

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