It’s spring and that means it’s time for spring cleaning. Not just cleaning the house but cleaning out the cupboards, refrigerator and freezer too.
Sometimes I’m amazed to find the stuff I’ve kept thinking that I’ll make something with it later. I found little containers of rice and tomato paste in the freezer. Not sure yet what I’m going to do with them, but I will think of something. There was a box of couscous, another one of marrowfat peas and a roll of polenta in the cupboard. The polenta was strange, because I hardly ever buy already made items, preferring to make food from scratch (or close to it). I must have purchased it for a reason, perhaps for some recipe that looked interesting.
I don’t remember what that recipe might have been, but I found this one in my collection and decided to try it. I also got to use up some of the tomato sauce I had stored in the freezer. Score!
Here’s what happened.
Unwrapped the polenta roll.
Cut it into 1/4″ slices.
Got some dried basil.
Thawed the tomato sauce.
Grated the mozzarella cheese.
Started putting the pie together. First a layer of polenta.
Then a layer of tomato sauce, sprinkled with half the dried basil. I thought the polenta pie would benefit from some more flavour, so I added some minced garlic.
That was topped with mozzarella cheese.
Then another layer of polenta, followed by the last of the mozzarella and the Parmesan and a few grinds of black pepper.
Polenta Pie with Cheese and Tomato Sauce, hot from the oven.
Served with tomato sauce.
Here’s the original recipe:
And here’s my slightly altered version.
Polenta Pie with Cheese and Tomato Sauce
yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings
active time: 10 min
total time: 30 min
This simple one-dish vegetarian meal is hearty without being heavy.
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 (16- to 18-oz) ready-made plain polenta roll (plastic-wrapped)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 cups tomato sauce
1/4 pound mozzarella cheese, coarsely shredded (1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
Black pepper to taste
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Oil a 9-inch pie plate or a 4-cup gratin dish with 1 teaspoon oil. Cut polenta roll crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices and line pie plate with half of slices, overlapping slices slightly to completely cover bottom of pie plate. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce over polenta, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon dried basil and the minced garlic. Cover with half of mozzarella. Top with remaining half of polenta slices, then scatter Parmesan over, as well as the remaining half of the mozzarella. Finish with a few grinds of black pepper.
Bake until bubbling and golden, about 20 minutes. While pie bakes, heat remaining tomato sauce and remaining basil in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Let pie stand 5 minutes to firm up and cool, then serve with extra sauce on the side.