Layered Polenta Casserole

Here’s a simple recipe for an Italian casserole with robust spaghetti night flavor. Polenta is an easy, tasty side dish that’s strong enough to support a casserole.


I created this recipe as a way to offer the ease and robust flavor of spaghetti dinner in a fresh form. It relies on a couple ready-made grocery store items, but those items can be replaced with an equal amount of the homemade version if you have time available to make those components yourself.

Serves 4

  • 1 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup beef or chicken broth (either is good in this recipe)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 8 oz sliced white or mini portabella mushrooms
  • 1 T butter
  • 14 oz jar or 15 oz can pasta sauce, traditional or mushroom flavor
  • 14 oz bag frozen meatballs
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon each dried parsley and oregano (or 1 T fresh chopped herbs)

You will need a 2 qt saucepan, a 10″ skillet and a 2 qt covered round glass baking dish. This recipe can be finished in a microwave or in the oven. Using the oven option requires preheating the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in the skillet over medium high heat and cook the sliced mushrooms for 10 minutes or until mushroom are browned.

Make the polenta: heat the water and broth in a saucepan over medium high heat and slowly whisk the cornmeal into the pan, stirring constantly. In a few minutes, the mixture will reach a boil, and the polenta will thicken quickly. Remove from heat and spread the polenta in the bottom of the glass baking dish.


Next place the frozen meatballs on top of the polenta.


Now pour the spaghetti sauce over the polenta and meatballs and layer the mushrooms on top. For the top layer, sprinkle the mozzarella cheese, parsley and oregano.


The final step is baking. The baking time is short because the hot polenta helps thaw the meatballs while the casserole is assembled. The casserole may be finished by cooking covered in the microwave for 10-12 minutes or baking in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy.


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