This is a recipe I look forward to trying out on my father-in-law. Despite being Brazilian-born, my father-in-law’s family has strong Italian roots, so much so that their entire family, including my wife, have Italian citizenship. One of his absolute favorite things is polenta, typically served up with a meat of some kind. But, this veggie version in pie form seems like a great way to pay homage to his roots, while going meat-free for a day. As always, many thanks to Kim Watkins and the great team over at inSHAPE Fitness!
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup uncooked polenta
- 4 cups water
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
- 1 tsp parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrot, shredded
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1/2 stick of butter (5 tbsp), softened at room temperature
- 3/4 cup corn flour
- 1 cup spinach, chopped
- 1 cup red pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
(Note: At some point in the preparation, take advantage of those “quiet” moments when cooking down the wine and veggie mixture, or freezing the dough in the tart pan to prep the spinach, red pepper, and cheese. Or, you can obviously do this in advance.)
Add uncooked polenta and salt (about a tsp) to boiling water, slowly with a whisk. Once the ingredients are well blended, lower heat to medium-low and continue to stir until you are happy with the texture and taste of the polenta. Remove from heat.
In a saute pan, heat olive oil then add garlic, onion, and spices to brown for about 5 minutes. Pour in red wine to de-glaze pan and lower heat to simmer. Add tomatoes, carrot, and celery then cover and cook for 30-45 minutes. When happy with the flavor, insert hand blender and liquefy sauce for later.
Measure out 3 cups of cooked polenta and blend with butter. Gradually add corn flour and when mixture gets doughy, cover and refrigerate for 10-15 min.
Butter a tart pan, or use cooking spray. Using your hands, spread dough into pan as evenly as possible. Freeze for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375-degrees.
Once you pull the crust from the freezer, spread about 1/2 cup of sauce first. Then add spinach, then red peppers, pine nuts, and finally cheese.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown and remember to give the dish about 20 minutes to cool before serving.