Catholic Recipe: Pasticcio di Polenta
Also Called: Corn Meal Pie
On the Friday before Lent, in Ponti in Italy the people of the town celebrate the feast of Polentone when an enormous dish of polenta, weighing more than a thousand pounds, is prepared and with it an omelet said to contain six thousand eggs, put together by the best cooks in town. We should like to see with our own eyes an omelet of six thousands eggs being turned over, since turning one made of only six is quite a trick, but no doubt the cooks of Ponti have had experience. These huge dishes are given to the poor. Evidently the cooking is the thing in this case; the eating is secondary to the wonder of constructing the dishes. This recipe makes a quantity considerably smaller than the wonder of Ponti but equally good.
In the morning of the day this dish is to be served, cook the corn meal in only enough water to make it very stiff. Turn out to cool in just the shape of the dish in which it was cooked. When preparing the pasticcio, butter the same dish in which the corn meal was cooked and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Cut the molded corn meal in horizontal strips about 1/4 inch thick. Lay the top slice in the bottom of the dish where it fits. Dot with a little butter and 3 or 4 dried mushrooms which have had boiling water poured over them and have soaked for several hours. Moisten with cream and sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Repeat slice by slice until the shape is complete. Put in a moderate oven at 300° F. and bake for three hours.Recipe Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951