For the big playoff day….my friend was hosting a game day. The food theme was casseroles, which to me is a very broad description. I wanted to make something vegetarian and gluten free….so did some searching online and liked this recipe at Epicurious.com as starting point. I roasted an acorn squash I had stored to add into the layering and picked up some Parmesan. I thought a nice tomato and red pepper coulis would go with nicely so I picked up those ingredients. Ive taken the original recipe and added my edits and ingredients in italics.
Winter Vegetable and Polenta Casserole
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large white onion, thinly sliced (chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 1 pound Swiss chard, thick stems and ribs removed, leaves cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
- one acorn or delicata squash halved and roasted until tender, scooped and chopped into pieces
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal) or yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups coarsely grated low-fat mozzarella cheese (about 8 ounces) I used 1 cup
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup roasted red peppers, jarred or homemade
- 1 cup canned chopped tomatoes or fresh
- 1 Tbl lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- one clove of garlic
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil 2-quart glass baking dish (8×8 square dish). Heat oil in heavy large deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in garlic and crushed red pepper, then chard; cover and cook until chard is tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Uncover; stir until any excess liquid in skillet evaporates. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, bring 3 1/2 cups water and salt to boil in heavy large saucepan. Gradually stir polenta into boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until polenta is very thick, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Whisk ricotta and eggs in bowl; whisk in 1 cup hot polenta. Stir ricotta mixture into polenta in saucepan. Spread half of polenta mixture in baking dish. Spread half of chard mixture over. Sprinkle with half of Parmesan mixture, add half of squash and then sprinkle with half of mozzarella. Repeat layering with remaining polenta, chard,squash and cheese. Bake until puffed and brown on top, about 45 minutes. Cool 30 minutes.
In blender or food processor. Combine peppers, tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil and clove of garlic. Blend well until smooth and season with salt and pepper. You can also add some fresh herbs like basil or rosemary. The consistency will be a thick puree and best served room temperature with the casserole on the side like a condiment.