Lidia's Pasticciata with mushroom ragu recipe
I watched her make it and am dying to try it, but I can't find the recipe. She has the basic Pasticciata recipe on her site, but 1/2 of the directions are for something else. And she doesn't have her mushroom ragu recipe up. I've pieced together something, but if someone can paraphase her recipe I would be your best friend forever! :)
This is the polenta-based pasticciata paraphrased:
You'll need 1 or 2 cups grated Muenster, Fontina or dry-packed mozzarella, shredded
1/2 to 1 cup grated Parm
1 cup bechamel, hot
Make the mushroom ragu
1/2 cup of dried porcini (soaked and squeezed), strain the soaking water and set aside
2-1/2 pounds mushrooms, sliced thin (she suggests a mix of fresh porcini, chantarelles, morels and other wild mushrooms--I've done this with porcini, cremini and regular button mushrooms)
3 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 sprig fresh rosemary, 1 sprig fresh sage tied together or wrapped in cheesecloth
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp. butter
1 c. shallots, chopped fine
1 medium onion, chopped fine
salt and pepper
1/3 c. tomato paste
1 cup dry Marsala
4 cups turkey or vegetable broth, hot
Heat oil and butter in large skillet over medium heat, add shallots, onions, salt--cook until soft. Add mushrooms, a little more salt and the herbs. Let cook covered for about 3 minutes to sweat the mushrooms; uncover, increase the heat and stir while the mushroom liquid evaporates. When the pan is dry add the tomato paste (in the "hot spot" in the center of the pan, let it toast then mix with the mushrooms. Add the marsala, stir then let it evaporate, then add the mushroom water and 2 cups of hot broth. Lower heat, cover, let it cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding enough broth to keep the mushrooms nearly covered in liquid. Uncover, cook for 20 minute more until the mushrooms are tender and the sauce is thickened to a spreadable consistency. Remove the herbs, adjust the salt and add pepper.
Keep the sauces hot while you make 10 cups of basic polenta (when it's done put plastic wrap over the hot polenta to keep a skin from forming).
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9x13" baking pan or 12" cast iron skillet. (use about 2 Tbsp. butter--make sure the bottom of the pan is thoroughly buttered) Spread bottom of pan with 1/4 cup of bechamel, pour in half the polenta, top with 1/4 of the shredded cheese, some Parm, 2 cups of the mushroom ragu.
Add a layer of polenta (use half of what remains), a layer of bechamel, cheeses and half of the remaining mushroom ragu (you'll want to reserve some for when you unmold the pasticciata).
Spread the rest of the polenta on, top with the rest of the bechamel and the rest of the cheese.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour (she suggests putting the pan on a cookie sheet--smart, by the way) until the top is "deeply colored and crusted.
If you're going to unmold it, let the pasticciata cool for about 10 minutes.
Your new best friend forever,