It's a lifesaving skill to know almost at a glance how to reduce the fat in an intriguing recipe. Many recipes don't warrant the effort, but here is a example of one that really is worth saving, and how to do it.
The original of this polenta recipe calls for 1/4 cup of butter, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and a pound of cheese -- for six servings. Now, polenta doesn't need to be cooked with butter or cheese. It's quite flavorful on its own.
Two cups of onions can be saute'ed in a tablespoon or two of butter (less, or none, in a nonstick pan) over low heat with some stirring. A little parmesan in the vegetable filling will add flavor, but you don't need half a cup. And finally, scattered across the top, three cups of grated mozzarella would be yummy, but a handful will suffice.
Enjoy Caserola Revisata with green salad and Lemon Parsley Dressing. CASEROLA REVISATA (Polenta) (6 servings)
6 cups water
2 cups coarse cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
FOR THE TOPPING:
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
4 cups chopped onions
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1/3 cup fresh basil, or 3 tablespoons, dried
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
3 cups cubed eggplant
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups broccoli, flowerets and slices
1 1/2 cups drained, canned tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Bring the water to a rapid boil. Gradually add cornmeal in a thin stream, stirring rapidly. While continuing to stir, add the salt. Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. Stir often, and when it has thickened to the point where a wooden spoon will stand upright, remove it from the heat. Pour the polenta into a well-buttered 12-inch casserole dish and let it cool for several minutes. Then refrigerate it until you are ready to assemble the casserole.
Saute' the garlic and onions in oil until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots, celery, herbs, seasonings and 1/4 cup of water or so; continue to cook on medium heat for several minutes. When the carrots are bright in color, add the eggplant and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring frequently. Add the peppers and broccoli and cook until tender, adding just enough water to "steam" them as you go along. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and red wine, and simmer 5 minutes more. Remove vegetables from heat and stir in parmesan.
Take chilled polenta from the refrigerator and spoon on the vegetable sauce. Top with mozzarella and bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the cheese begins to brown at the edges. Allow to rest 25 minutes before serving.
LEMON PARSLEY DRESSING (Makes 1/2 cup dressing)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped green bell pepper
Dash black pepper
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend smooth.