This is a great alternative to Spag Bol.
This is a very versatile recipe and the real star is the use of the crunchy polenta (cornmeal) topping instead of the normal pasta. As you can see from the photo above, I added a good amount of cheese and the whole dish was delicious. It is also much easier to warm up for lunch than pasta (which can sometimes go a bit stodgy if put in the microwave).
If you don’t like the inclusion of eggplant then simply substitute your favourite bolognese ingredients to make the sauce. This also lets you adjust the cost to suit your budget.
I adapted this recipe from one I found in the April 2015 issue of Recipes+ magazine.
Ingredients – serves 4:
- 1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- approx 400g/14 oz beef of your choice (I used diced steak but mince would be fine)
- 1 eggplant, finely diced
- 500g/1 lb jar your favourite tomato pasta sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 and 1/2 cups polenta (cornmeal)
- 1/2 cup self raising flour
- freshly ground black pepper, to season
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 3/4 cup light sour cream
- approx 1/4 cup milk
- 1 egg
- fresh parsley leaves, optional, to serve
- Heat your oven to 200C/180C fan forced/390F.
- Put the oil into a large frying pan, place over a medium heat on the stovetop then add the onion and carrot. Cook for 5 minutes until the onion is softened.
- Add the beef to the pan and cook, stirring often, until the meat is browned all over.
- Add the diced eggplant, stir and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the tomato pasta sauce and water to the pan. Bring to a simmer then lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile make the polenta topping. First put the polenta, flour, a good seasoning of pepper and half the cheese into a medium bowl. Stir to mix. Put the sour cream, milk and egg into a jug and whisk until combined, then stir this into the dry ingredients in the bowl. The batter needs to be similar to a thick cake batter – add a little more milk if required.
- Carefully transfer the beef mixture to a shallow oven-proof dish. Level the surface with the back of a spoon, then dollop the polenta topping over the beef. Scatter over the remaining cheese.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the polenta topping is golden.
- Remove from the oven and leave to sit for 5 minutes before serving topped with the fresh parsley leaves, if using.