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Baked Polenta with Bolognese Meat Sauce

  • 1/4 cup butter, unsalted
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 med onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, finely chopped (Italian bacon)
  • 15 pounds veal, ground
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup dry white wine or dry Merlot
  • 1 cup Italian tomatoes, (28 oz.) crushed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Melt butter with oil in a large saucepan. When butter foams, add onion, carrot, celery and pancetta. Saute over medium heat until lightly browned. Add veal. Cook and stir until meat is no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper. Increase heat and stir in wine. Cook until wine has evaporated. Press tomatoes through a food mill or sieve to remove seeds. Stir tomato pulp into veal mixture. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until sauce reaches a medium thick consistency. Stir occasionally during cooking. Add milk and cook 5 minutes longer. Makes 2-1/2 to 3 cups of sauce. Prepare Basic Polenta and let cool completely. Prepare Bolognese Meat Sauce. Preheat oven to 400F. Butter a 13" x 9" baking dish. Cut cooled polenta into slices 2 inches wide and about 6 inches long. Put 1/3 of the sliced polenta in buttered baking dish. Spoon about 1 cup meat sauce over polenta. Dot with about 2 Tablespoons butter and sprinkle with 4 to 5 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Repeat with two more layers of polenta, meat sauce, butter and Parmesan cheese, making 3 layers. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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