Meat sauce? Got it.
Oven pan? Right over here.
Talk about your no-brainers.
Make some of this, would you. Thank me later.
It all starts with a good-quality base. I know some people swear by the instant stuff, but I always go with the real deal, a good Italian polenta that takes time (half an hour at least) and patience (constant and uninterrupted stirring) to cook properly. Here you have two cups of the stuff, which is mixed with eight cups of well-salted boiling water.
My ancestors are no doubt rolling over this, and I myself may go to Hell because of it, but I use a whisk for stirring polenta, not the sacred wooden spoon that generations of polenta makers have relied upon. The whisk just works better, okay. Somebody had to say it.
When the polenta is done, pour it onto a flat surface. I used a cutting board, which first got a light coat of olive oil to prevent sticking.
While it's still hot, spread the polenta so that it's evenly dispersed, then allow it to cool.
Everybody has their own idea about what makes a good meat sauce. I have several ideas. This one's got ground beef, shredded pork, pancetta and a little sausage meat. Oh, and tomatoes, garlic and some onion. But you knew that.
All that's left to do now is start layering, just as you would with any lasagne. Layer of sauce on the bottom, slab of polenta, like that.
In the middle and on top I run a cheese grater (with Romano here) over the meat sauce. (There's no ricotta or mozzarella in this version, but I would not stop you from adding it to your own.)
After about an hour or so in the oven (at 350 F), the first forty minutes covered in aluminum foil, you have got yourself one extraordinarily satisfying "lasagne." Even if it's really polenta.
And don't forget to wait awhile before cutting into the thing. It doesn't need to rest as long as a real lasagne, but fifteen or twenty minutes wouldn't hurt.
What, you're in a hurry?