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Venetian Polenta Pie

September 12, 2004

1-1/2 ounces dried mushrooms

1 pound chicken giblets

3 cups cornmeal

Salt

Butter

5 ounces Parmesan cheese (1/2 grated and 1/2 thinly sliced)

For the sauce:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Butter

1 onion, finely chopped

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2 carrots, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped bacon

1 cup finely chopped raw veal

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 pound ripe canned tomatoes

As with all Italian sauces, this one requires time and care to prepare. It is best to cook the meats for the sauce first or at least while the other ingredients are being prepared.

Heat the extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter, and gently saut onions, carrots, celery and bacon until they change colors. Add veal and let brown. Add dry white wine and let cook for five minutes. Make sure the tomatoes are peeled and seeded. Add tomatoes to the cooking pan. Add salt and freshly ground pepper and allow to cook for 90 minutes.

Soak mushrooms in warm water and finely chop chicken giblets. Place giblets on the side until needed later. After allowing mushrooms to soak for at least a half-hour, pat dry and chop finely.

After bringing 8-1/2 cups of water to a boil, pour cornmeal into pot. Stir often, lower heat and gently cook for 30 minutes (remember to keep stirring the cornmeal). After it reaches ideal consistency, pour cornmeal into a square baking pan and let it cool. After it cools, cut polenta into 1/4-inch slices.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan and saut the mushrooms and giblets gently for five minutes. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Rub a large saucepan with butter and begin to layer polenta on the bottom. Place meat sauce on top of polenta. Add another layer of polenta on top of the meat sauce. Add giblets and mushrooms on top of the second layer of polenta. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of giblets and mushrooms and add thinly sliced Parmesan. Continue until all ingredients are used. When finished, add a few slivers of butter on top of Parmesan cheese.

Bake in a 475-degree oven until heated thoroughly. Serve hot.

Serves 8.

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