S e r v es 8

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 lb. mushrooms, diced
1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage,
casings removed
2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf
1 recipe Creamy Polenta (on the
facing page), molded into a
13×9-inch dish
4 oz. fresh mozzarella, shredded
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Slices of firm polenta take the
place of pasta in this rustic

Make the sauce

  1. In a large frying pan, heatthe
    oil over medium heat. Add the
    pepper, onion, and garlic and
    cook untilthe vegetables begin to
    soften, about 5 minutes. Add the
    mushrooms and crumble in the
    sausage; cook ­untilthe sausage is
    no longer pink, about 5 minutes longer.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, and season with about1tsp. salt and1/2tsp. pepper.
    Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook untilthick and flavorful, 45 to
    50 minutes. Stir in the herbs. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and
    pepper if needed.

Assemble the lasagne

Heatthe oven to 350°F. Unmold the polenta onto a work surface, cutitin
half crosswise, and slice each half horizontally with a long,thin knife. Spread
1/2cup ofthe tomato sauce in the bottom ofthe 13×9-inch pan and put
halfthe polenta on top. Layer with about 2 cups ofthe tomato sauce,the
remaining polenta, and the remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella
and Parmesan cheeses on top. Bake until browned and a knife inserted in
the center comes out hot, 50 to 65 minutes. Letrestfor15 minutes before
serving. —Earl Le Claire

Keeping Herbs Fresh

A little time spent when you get home from the market can add
days to the life span of your herbs. First, remove from the plastic
and shake off any excess water. Remove wire twists and wilted or
slimy leaves. Dampen a length of papertowels, wring out well,
and loosely wrap the herbs. Putthe wrapped herbs in a plastic
bag, press out any air, and close tightly. Try to store herbs in a
warmer part ofthe fridge, as very cold temperatures can
blacken them. Mostfresh herbs will last up to a week.

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