The samples being handed out at my Trader Joe’s the other day was cooked polenta mixed with tomato basil pasta sauce and baked. It was really good so I bought both the sauce and the polenta. As part of my new quest to cook with foods I have never cooked with before I also bought an eggplant and decided to combine the two in a variation of a recipe for “eggplant stackers” I’d seen before and Voila!
1 large purple eggplant, sliced into 1 inch rounds
1 tube of cooked polenta (I used Trader Joe’s), sliced into 1 inch rounds
3-5 garlic cloves (peeled and thinly sliced)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 cup pasta sauce
1 – 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
parmesan cheese for topping
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2T olive oil + more for drizzling
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Lay out eggplant and polenta rounds on cookie sheets in single layers. Cut 2-3 slits in each round, large enough to stuff a garlic slice into each slit. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast until soft and cooked completely, about 15 minutes.
In small bowl, mix bread crumbs, thyme and basil together. Set aside. Heat 2T of oil and 2T butter in a heavy bottom skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add breadcrumbs and continue to toast until golden brown.
Remove eggplant from oven and let cool just slightly. Build stacks by layering eggplant, of pasta sauce, polenta, pasta sauce, mozzarella eggplant, pasta sauce. Top with breadcrumbs and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Drizzle tops will olive oil.
Increase the temperature of the oven to 400 degrees F.
Put the eggplant stacks back into the oven and cook 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the bread crumbs are toasted.
Enjoy by itself or with a little pasta tossed in the same sauce.