Monday, August 8, 2011

Polenta Pie

I've been on a bit of a polenta kick lately. I know it's sort of a weird thing to make a lot but bf loves it and it's a great alternative to rice or pasta as a side dish. The only problem is, not all grocery stores have it and if you ask for help, the staff in the store is probably going to give you a weird/mean/confused look. But, I was having trouble finding new dinner recipes and found this on Gourmet's website and decided to give it a shot. It was really delicious and very unusual in flavor, texture and taste. I mean that in a really good way because it adds some great variety to my meal repertoire. Next time, I'd add less mozzarella cheese and more Parmesan, but I think that's the only change I'd make.

Polenta Pie
from here

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 (16- to 18-oz) ready-made plain polenta roll (plastic-wrapped)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 (25- to 26-oz) jar chunky tomato sauce (preferably Lucini brand Sicilian eggplant and olive)*
1/4 lb mozzarella, coarsely shredded (1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano*

*note: next time I'd do a half cup of mozzarella and a half cup of Parmesan

I started by measuring out a cup and a half of the sauce into a bowl and adding a small handful of chopped basil. I didn't really measure, I probably did closer to two tablespoons.

Then I poured a teaspoon of olive oil into my pie dish and swirled it around as best as I could. When I put the first piece of polenta in the dish, I rubbed it around to make sure the entire bottom of the pan was coated.

Next, I sliced up the tube in 1/4 inch pieces. You should have about 20. Something happened to my next picture, it's loading with this gigantic bar down the center, but basically, I laid out half (or half minute 1 or 2 because you will need more for the top) of the polenta pieces so that they were overlapping and covering the bottom of the pie dish.

Then, I covered the polenta with the sauce from the bowl. At this point, I got over anxious and put down the second layer of polenta. So I then had to remove the second layer, scrape off the sauce and proceed slowly.

I added 1/2 cup of mozzarella....

Then the rest of the polenta slices. You can see they have sauce on them from my mishap.

Finally, I covered the pie with the rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan. Next time, I'd use the mozzarella in the middle and Parmesan on top. I then baked for 20 minutes at 450 degrees.

Meanwhile, bf and I were trying to come up with a side dish that had veggies in it to balance the pie, and we decided to caramelize some onions and add them to peas. So I chopped the onions into little slices.

Then we sauteed the onions in margarine until they were tender.

Then we added some brown sugar to the pan and sauteed a few more minutes until the onions turned a nice brown color.

We added the steamed peas and cooked a few more minutes.

While the peas and pie were cooking, I also heated up the rest of the sauce with some more basil and a small dash of olive oil. I really liked the extra sauce on the pie, bf thought it was unnecessary.

I took the pie out of the oven with the cheese was browned and the sauce was bubbling. You are supposed to let the pie sit for at least 5 minutes to firm up. As you can see by the next picture, we couldn't wait that long.

So, it kind of fell apart, but it was really tasty and definitely something I'd make again.

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