1.24.2011

Meatless Monday: Cheesy Polenta Pie

(Note: updated recipe to include the forgotton sundried tomatoes!) Let's start by saying that we've both under some stress lately. That means we wanted needed some comfort food. For Amy, that usually means meat, but it's Meatless Monday, and we're stickin' to that resolution (since it's still January...)! So, we turned to cheese as a key ingredient in tonight's meatless meal.


Cheese definitely falls under the "comfort food" category in our world, and since Amy spent some fun years in New Orleans, so do grits. (For a great explanation of the difference between polenta and grits, go HERE). In this cooked-on-the-stovetop-then-baked dish, we use parmesan and mozzarella to give our polenta a boost of flavor and extra gooey creaminess. A handful of chopped sundried tomatoes not only offer the dish some color and nice concentrated tomato taste, but enhance the saltiness of the parmesan. Next time, we'd put in more parmesan and add some chopped fresh herbs to the mix, perhaps basil or rosemary. We enjoyed this hot out of the cast iron pan with a side salad for dinner, yet we also grabbed a wedge out of the fridge and loved it at room temperature as a just-before-school-starts morning snack.


Ingredients:

4 cups cold water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups coarsely ground yellow corn meal (polenta)
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Pour the water into a medium pot and add salt to it. Whisk the polenta into the cold water, then turn the heat on to medium. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until the polenta has absorbed most of the water and has the consistency of grits. Lower heat and continue to cook, stirring still, for another 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat, then add 1 tablespoon of butter and all of the parmesan cheese, as well as the sundried tomatoes, stirring until the butter melts and tomatoes are evenly distributed. Grease a cast-iron skillet with the other tablespoon of butter and spread the polenta into it evenly. Top the polenta with the mozzarella cheese. Place in the oven and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Allow to cool five minutes before slicing and serving.

11 comments:

Lo-mo said...

Love the browned cheesey topping on this....looks fantastic!!

penny aka jeroxie said...

Yay! I am doing meatless mondays too :)

The Duo Dishes said...

Cheese is definitely a comfort food. So is anything hot and cheesey. Perfect choice for the moment. Hope the stress goes away soon!

Jessica said...

I absolutely love homemade polenta (although I really only tried it once). Making that polenta pie sounds like it's going to have to be my next polenta recipe!

Alicia said...

Oh - yum. I love cheese and polenta. Wonderful combo. We're trying to do 1 meatless day a week too. We started yesterday. I know there are going to be weeks when I resort to a falafel from Tangiers.

thanks for the idea!!

Celia said...

Polenta and oodles of parmesan: can never go wrong with that combo!

Kate @ Diethood.com said...

Delish! I've been trying to do something different with polenta ... thank you for sharing! I love that you added sundried tomatoes.

Ang said...

What a pleasant simple meal. And the salad on the side is just perfect.

Montillo Italian Foods said...

We'll definitely be giving this recipe a try. Thanks for sharing it!

Mama J said...

Can't wait to try this!

Vengeful Lovers said...

Made this a couple of times now and is really tasty. I only have fine polenta at the moment but it works well. I only added 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 is just to much for me personally, especially when you are adding cheese! I don't do cow's milk so subbed parmesan with pecorino and added in some goat's cream cheese as well. Used goat cheddar for the top. This recipe will feed 4 very generously and 6 with a couple of nice sides to go along with it.