Tomato 'n' Beef Casserole With Polenta Crust


This cheesy, beefy casserole is all kinds of satisfying. The cornmeal-based crust sets this cheesy dish aside from other Italian casserole recipes, while the heartiness makes it a great pick for weeknight dinners. 

Tomato ‘n’ Beef Casserole With Polenta Crust
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas
Prep Time:
20 mins
Bake Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
50 mins
6 servings


  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup plain yellow cornmeal

  • 1/2 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning

  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

  • 1 pound ground chuck

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced (about 2 cups)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 (14 1/2-oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes, drained

  • 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bring 3 cups water and 1 tsp. salt to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in cornmeal; reduce heat to low, and simmer, whisking constantly, 3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, and stir in steak seasoning and 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese. Spread cornmeal mixture into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish.

  2. Brown ground chuck in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain and transfer to a bowl.

  3. Sauté onion and zucchini in hot oil in skillet over medium heat 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in beef, tomatoes, and tomato paste; simmer, stirring often, 10 minutes. Pour beef mixture over cornmeal crust. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese.

  4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle casserole with parsley just before serving.

  5. Italian Beef Casserole With Polenta Crust: Substitute Italian sausage for ground chuck and Italian six-cheese blend for Cheddar cheese. Prepare recipe as directed, sautéing 1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped, with onion in Step

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