Polenta Al Forno with Swiss Chard-Tomato Sauce 6 servings 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 pound swiss chard, stems chopped and leaves cut crosswise into ribbons Salt, to taste Generous pinch of red pepper flakes 1/4 cup golden raisins One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes One 14-ounce can stewed tomatoes 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth 1 1/2 cups polenta 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan Salt, to taste Extra virgin olive oil for the baking dish 4 ounces shredded asiago

Polenta

I must have been living in my own little world because I had no idea were were getting this “polar vortex part 2” this week. I got back from Boston the other night with my light peacoat and ballet flats. Let’s just say I’m never traveling without my snow boots and puffy coat ever again.

There seems to be no end in sight to the cold, so good thing there’s comfort food.

Polenta

I think creamy, cheesy polenta is winter comfort food at its finest. This polenta is not only loaded with parmesan cheese, but has a layer of asiago in the middle. It’s pretty much insanely awesome. Pair it with a healthy sauce filled with veggies and then you don’t have to feel too bad about indulging a little.

Polenta

The recipe comes from The Glorious Vegetables of Italy, a book I can’t wait to dig into further. The polenta is slowly cooked and then baked with the two cheeses. The slight bitterness of the swiss chard is balanced nicely in the tomato sauce with golden raisins. When Matt tasted it, he said the raisins were perfect because swiss chard can sometimes taste “muddy”…I think the word he was looking for was “earthy,” but yes, the raisins are key.

If you don’t have time to make the polenta (though much of it is really hands off), this sauce would be fabulous over pasta as well. Or bread even!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this cookbook to review, but all opinions are my own.

Polenta Al Forno with Swiss Chard-Tomato Sauce

Yield: 6 servings

Polenta Al Forno with Swiss Chard-Tomato Sauce

Slightly adapted from The Glorious Vegetables of Italy

Ingredients

    For the Swiss Chard-Tomato Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound swiss chard, stems chopped and leaves cut crosswise into ribbons
  • Salt, to taste
  • Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • One 14-ounce can stewed tomatoes (see note)
  • For the Polenta
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups polenta
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
  • Salt, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil for the baking dish
  • 4 ounces shredded asiago fresco, pecorino fresco, or other good shredding and melting cheese (I used regular asiago)

Instructions

    For the Swiss Chard-Tomato Sauce
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for just a few minutes until it starts to soften. Stir in the chard stems with a pinch of salt, raise the heat to medium, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chard leaves, cover, and cook for about 5 more minutes or until wilted. Add the red pepper flakes, raisins, and all of the tomatoes. Cook uncovered at a gentle simmer until thickened, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • For the Polenta
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in the polenta in a continuous stream and lightly whisk to prevent lumps from forming. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook the polenta, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, for 30 to 40 minutes. If it gets too thick, add additional broth or water. When it’s done, it will be thick and pull away from the sides and bottom of the pan.
  • Add the butter, 3/4 cup of the parmesan, and additional salt to taste. Stir until well incorporated.
  • Lightly oil an ovenproof baking dish. Spread half the polenta into the dish and sprinkle with the asiago (or cheese of choice). Spread the remaining polenta on top. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on top. Bake uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes until firm and bubbly.
  • Serve the polenta in wedges or squares with the sauce spooned on top.

Notes

I couldn't find stewed tomatoes and found that pureed worked just fine.

Feel free to slightly cut down on the butter and cheese; I did, and it still tasted quite indulgent. You can also bake half at a time if you're only cooking for two, like me, and save the other half for baking later.

http://www.culinarycolleen.com/polenta-al-forno-swiss-chardtomato-sauce/

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