I've always found it kind of funny that things like Chicken Parmesan sometimes don't even have Parmesan cheese in them at all, or if they do, it's certainly not the star. Why is that?
Don't get me wrong. I love me some gooey mozzarella or provalone, I just don't get what's with the misnomer.
Misnomed or not, I love this dish I discovered years ago via a Robin Miller cookbook my mother had lying around. I think my favorite part about it is that I can always have the ingredients on hand -- and there are really only three ingredients. I mean, this is barely even a recipe!
As a bonus, it's vegetarian. I like to step away from the meat at least a couple of nights a week, so this is perfect. And if you're not familiar with polenta, this is a great, simple introduction -- it's soft and satisfying and hearty without being heavy.
I can bang this out on nights when thinking about dinner exhausts me (and since the arrival of our little man, this is a state in which I find myself frequently). It comes together in roughly 10 minutes, making it a great thing to have in your back pocket during the crazy holiday season, when time and energy are at a premium.
Easy Polenta Parmesan
Prepared polenta, plain or in the flavor of your choice (you can usually find this in the produce section of the grocery store -- if not there, then try the pasta aisle)
Your favorite jarred marinara sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese (or an Italian cheese blend)
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice polenta into 1/2" discs. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil into a frying pan, and set over medium-high heat. Season discs with salt and pepper and set in pan. Let toast for a minute or two until the gets a little color, then flip and let toast on the other side.
Transfer toasted polenta into greased baking dish in one layer. Top each one with a spoonful of marinara. Sprinkle with cheese, and set under the broiler until cheese is browned and bubbly.
OR You can skip the step of toasting the polenta if you like, but in that case I would bake it at 350º for about 20 -30 minutes to warm the polenta through. It's good either way. If you broil it, it's done a bit faster but you use more dishes. If you bake it, it takes a bit longer, but is less work. Only YOU can decide which method will work best for you -- and/or prevent forest fires.
Serve with steamed broccoli or a salad.