Why is it that the word casserole has such bad connotations?
I suppose I could avoid this by calling this a polenta and bolognese gratin or a layered polenta with kale and bolognese sauce, but let’s face it a casserole is a casserole and that makes this comforting, freezer-friendly and easy to make ahead.
This polenta recipe can be made with prepackaged polenta, instant polenta or you can feel free to make it from scratch. Because you will want it soft enough to be malleable – might I suggest instant?
Polenta Casserole with Kale and Bolognese Sauce(6 servings)
Heat a sauce pan to medium heat and add the olive oil and onion, stir the onion until it starts to soften and then add the beef, garlic and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Stir until beef is browned through. Add the red wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, and bring to a gentle simmer. Break apart the tomatoes with a spoon and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Turn on oven to 375F.
While the sauce is cooking, prepare your polenta if required - if using pre-cooked polenta soften it in the microwave with a touch of water. Also, cook the kale. Heat a large frying pan to medium heat. Wash, the kale. Remove the kale form it's stems and chop roughly. Place in a large frying pan still wet. Turn heat on to medium and add a pinch of salt. Saute in the pan until soft and cooked through. Remove and reserve.
To assemble the casserole butter an 8"x8" square dish and layer in one third of the polenta and press down. Top with a third of the sauce, followed by half of the kale and one quarter of the cheese. Repeat another identical layer and then top with remaining polenta, sauce and lots of the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to rest before serving.