Soft Polenta and Black Bean Ragoût
As you eat soft polenta right out of the pot, it will slowly solidify. That phenomenon is one of the delightful textural changes you may enjoy in this preparation. An ideal accompaniment is grilled or roast, or even braised, lamb on top, cooked so the juices spill all over the polenta. If you grill or roast the lamb, use about 2 pounds lamb shoulder, rub it with a tablespoon of ground fennel seeds, salt, and pepper, and grill slowly (indirectly) or roast slowly (about 300°F) for 3 hours.
Green Lasagne with Four Cheeses
This pretty green and white lasagne, called lasagne verde con quattro formaggi in Italian, is made with a white béchamel sauce instead of tomatoes, and with four cheeses: fontina, mozzarella, pecorino, and Parmesan. If using no-boil (instant) lasagne, skip step 2.
Macaroni and Cheese with Mushrooms and Kale
Good old mac and cheese, but with a sophisticated edge. Smoked paprika, mushrooms (porcini and cremini) and kale add great flavor.