One of the first meals that I started to “play around with” in a no-recipe kind of way baked ziti. I realized that with pasta, cheese, sauce, and fix-ins you could absolutely make edible slash delicious dinners. I’d add meat and veggies to make the dish more substantial, and this was a pretty frequent meal in our house – until gluten free came on the scene. There’s been a lot more meat (thanks Costco) and I was starting to miss my Italian food.
I’d been buying this organic polenta to slice and fry up for an easy side dish so it was in my cheese drawer, right next to the mozz and parm. Could thinly sliced polenta work for lasagna sheets? Indeed it did! Now, polenta is more grainy (it’s a coarse corn meal) than chewy so though the meal tasted like lasagna, the chew was definitely different. Did I enjoy this even though I could have eaten the standard version? Yes, absolutely. Put “pizza cheese” on anything and I’ll dig right in.
A friend of mine has gluten free and egg free eaters in her house and on top of that, she’s been trying to go meatless a few times a week. Nikki this would work for you, I believe!
Cheesy Baked Polenta with Swiss Chard
8 oz. swiss chard (or spinach or kale), chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 c. jarred tomato sauce/marinara
1 lb. polenta in a tube, very thinly sliced (I used sundried tomato and garlic)
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. parmesan
Fresh basil, for serving
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and greens. Saute until wilted – add salt, pepper and garlic powder and stir to coat.
3. Add 1/2 c. tomato sauce to the bottom of an 8×8 inch pan and spread to coat evenly. Top with about 1/3 of the sliced polenta
4. Top with half of the greens and then 1/3 of the cheeses (both).
5. Drizzle another 1/2 c. of sauce, and then top with another third of the polenta.
6. Next up, the remaining greens and another third of the cheeses.
7. Next, another 1/2 c. of sauce and the remaining polenta. Top polenta with remaining cheeses, along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
8. Bake for twenty five minutes with pan placed in the center of the oven, then move pan to top of the oven and turn oven to broil. Broil until the cheese is golden and bubbly.