Baked Stuffed Polenta (Polenta Al Forno)

Total Time
1hr 20mins
30 mins
50 mins

This recipe from the *Italian Cookbook 2* of the Australian Womens Weekly cookbook series admittedly requires extra work, but makes up for it w/a company-worthy outcome that is visually stunning as a main-dish when served w/an Italian salad + garlic bread. The polenta is stuffed w/salami, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives & cheese. It has 2 cooking steps, but all the prep is done in advance of the final cooking step in the oven. I have not made this recipe yet, but did simplify the recipe & prep. I am hopeful that someone among you will be open to an adventure & give it a try. Pls see my notes Re pan sizes + a 2nd stuffing option at the end of the prep. (This recipe serves 6 as a main-dish or 8 generously as a side-dish. Time does not include chilling the polenta under refrigeration for several hrs or overnite). *Enjoy* !

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  1. In a lrg saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil & gradually whisk in the polenta. Reduce heat to simmer & cook 15 min or till very thick (while continuing to stir).
  2. Remove pan from heat & stir in butter, 1st measure of Parmesan cheese + parsley.
  3. Allow to cool slightly. Then press polenta mixture into an oiled 8 x 12-in lamington pan (See notes). Cool to rm temp & refrigerate several hrs (or overnite) till firm.
  4. Turn polenta out of pan, slice horizontally in half, return bottom half to pan & set top half aside.
  5. Evenly distribute sliced salami over the half in the pan, overlapping as necessary. Then evenly distribute the chopped tomatoes & black olives over the salami slices.
  6. Combine Mozzarella cheese, 2nd measure of Parmesan cheese & fresh basil. Spread half of this mixture over the layered salami, tomatoes & black olives.
  7. Gentle place top half of polenta over the layered ingredients & sprinkle it w/the 2nd half of the cheese & basil mixture.
  8. Bake in a hot oven (400°F) about 30 min or till heated thru. The top should be lightly browned & crisp, so place under broiler as needed. Allow to cool slightly & serve immediately.
  9. NOTES RE PAN SIZE: I do not have a lamington pan or a pan 8 x 12-in size. If made in one, the dish would be cut into 6 4x4-in square servings. I do have a 10-in rd glass baking dish that would be equal in size to the pan suggested. In this event, the dish would be cut in 6 wedge-shaped servings.
  10. 2nd STUFFING OPTION: As an 2nd option if you prefer, use thinly sliced prosciutto as a sub for the salami & keep all else the same.