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Ground turkey and polenta casserole — distinct Italian flavors

January 17, 2010


  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 large onion
  • 24 oz can of whole tomatoes smashed up (I squeeze them to bits with my hand!)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbls pesto (that’s what I used, as I freeze large quantities in the summer, otherwise use some fresh basil)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste
  • Essentially this is like a pasta sauce. I sauteed the onions and garlic until soft and slightly browned. Added the ground turkey and browned that as well. Then the herbs and spices and tomato all followed. The important part for this dish is cooking down the tomato sauce until pretty much all the extra juice is gone for the purpose of the casserole being somewhat stable. It’s only important in terms of aesthetics, a goopy casserole will be equally delicious to one that is solid.

    Once the sauce is completed it should be put in the bottom of a casserole dish to be followed with a layer of the following polenta.


  • 3/4 cup dried polenta
  • water as needed (I actually have no idea how much I used. Please read the packet if you’re not familiar with making polenta)
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup pecorino cheese (any dry grated cheese is fine)

Make the polenta and add the cheese. Mix in well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Top the sauce with the polenta in a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until the top is browned.

I had an idea once the polenta was made that worked out quite well. I wanted my casserole to be solid rather than drippy and it’s hard to do with polenta and a meat sauce. I added about 1/8 of a cup of dry polenta to the prepared polenta figuring that while it baked it would cook and make it more solid. It worked very well.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Kass permalink
    January 17, 2010 12:12 am

    Hmm. This seems like an Italian version of Shepherd’s Pie actually. I’ll try almost anything once. :)

  2. January 17, 2010 10:56 am

    That looks awesome. Heh, it does sound like a Italian shepherds pie… what’s the Italian word for shepherd? You could call it that pie. :D

  3. January 17, 2010 1:34 pm

    one measure of polenta flour to three measures of liquid (salted…)
    bring to a boil, mix in the flour, lower heat

  4. January 19, 2010 7:50 am

    Ummmmmm…turkey! I can never get enough turkey.

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