Hearty, quick, and nutritious, polenta is a wonderful fall dish that is heartwarming as it is comforting. Enjoyed throughout Italy, but a main staple in Northern Italian cuisine, polenta is a wonderful dish for folks following a gluten free diet. Often served with mushrooms, an alternative method is to serve it with sautéed vegetables simply cooked with some olive oil and garlic. Packed with nutrients, this humble peasant dish comes together in just 20 minutes, making it the ideal week-night meal. Spinach and Swiss chard cook quickly, but if you wanted to add sturdier vegetables, broccoli rabe and kale also work wonderfully. Adjust cooking time by adding about 5 minutes when sauteing the vegetables.
4 - 6 cups vegetable stock
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped to 1-inch pieces
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 (10-ounces) bags baby spinach
1½ cups instant polenta
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup shredded Fontina cheese
1. In a medium soup or stock pot, add the stock and bring it to a full boil over high heat.
2.Meanwhile, prepare the greens. In a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until slightly golden but not burnt. Add the chard, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, until slightly wilted and softened. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of stock from the stock pan if the oil is drying out too quickly.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the polenta. Gradually add the polenta to the boiling stock, cook according to instructions, generally 3 to 4 minutes, stirring continuously to prevent sticking.
4. Add the spinach to the vegetable pan and using a tong or wooden spoon, pack spinach down. It will wilt down and cook in 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Remove the polenta from the heat and add the butter, grated cheese, and shredded fontina. Add the polenta to a large serving platter, add the greens on top and serve family style.
*Recipe originally published from my 30-Minute Italian Cookbook! Grab your copy on Amazon!
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