POLENTA AND GRILLED VEGETABLE LASAGNA

For the vegetables:

  • 6 portabella mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned and grilled
  • 2 zucchini, cut lengthwise into ¼" strips and grilled
  • 1 eggplant, cut lengthwise into ¼" strips and grilled
  • 2 yellow squash, cut lengthwise into ¼" strips and grilled
  • 4 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, stemmed and seeded
  • 20 scallions, trimmed, steamed and grilled
  • 20 asparagus spears, trimmed, streamed and grilled
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the polenta:

  • 1 quart milk
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1½ tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 14 ounces Italian Style Polenta
  • 6 ounces butter
  • 8 ounces Parmigiana-Reggiano, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the ricotta filling:

  • ½ cup milk
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons tomato powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the dish:

8 ounces Parmigiana-Reggiano, grated

     For the vegetables, prepare a grill, grill each type of vegetable, season and set aside to cool.

     For the polenta, in a large saucepan, bring the milk, stock, salt and pepper to a boil. Remove pan from the heat and whisk in the polenta, one handful at a time. Return the mixture to low-medium heat, stirring often until thick and creamy. Fold in the butter and Parmigiana-Reggiano, season, and set aside to keep warm.

     For the ricotta filling, in a bowl, stir milk into the ricotta with a wooden spoon until it is softened and smooth. Incorporate the tomato powder and season.

     To assemble, preheat oven to 400° and butter a large 2" deep, oven-proof casserole dish. Pour in ½ the polenta, setting the remainder aside to keep warm, and allow to set until slightly firm. Smooth _ of the tomato ricotta over it, align a row of asparagus on top, and spread another _ of the ricotta over the spears to cover. Arrange the vegetables in individual layers, spread with the last _ ricotta, place a row of the remaining asparagus on top, and spread with the rest of the polenta. Cover the surface with grated cheese and set for 10 minutes. Bake at 350° for 1½ hours.