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Classic Polenta Gratin with Greens Recipe

Classic Polenta Gratin with Greens Recipe

Polenta is a Mediterranean standby: coarse-ground cornmeal cooked until it becomes tender and creamy, an inexpensive and delicious peasant food used throughout Italy with vegetables and cheese as a golden, tasty alternative to pasta. But the traditional way of cooking it involved many long minutes of stirring. Not this version!

Find out how you can cook polenta in the oven without any stirring at all, and then make this simple, satisfying gratin with garlic, olive oil, spring greens, and cheese. A healthful boost for the whole family, and easy, too:


1 cup medium-ground or coarse cornmeal, preferably organic stone-ground
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound mixed tender greens, such as spinach, arugula, watercress, or kale, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. In an oiled 3-quart ovenproof skillet, stir together the cornmeal, water, and salt. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a very large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, chile flakes, and a pinch of black pepper; cook for 1 minute. Pour half the oil into a 1 1/2 or 2-quart ovenproof serving dish, reserving the garlic in the skillet, and then pour another tablespoon into a cup to be drizzled over the final dish. Brush the seasoned oil all over the inside of the serving dish. Add the chopped greens to the oil and garlic remaining in the skillet, cover, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until wilted and tender, about 10 minutes. Discard the garlic. Season the greens with salt and pepper. Uncover the greens and increase the heat at the end to evaporate any liquid.

3. When the polenta has cooked 40 minutes, quickly stir in the greens and half of the cheese until combined. Taste and add salt if needed. Transfer to the oiled ovenproof serving dish, drizzle with the reserved oil, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and bake until the cheese is melted, another 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Serves 4.

Read more: Food, All recipes, Entrees

Adapted from Cooking New American, by the Editors of Fine Cooking (Taunton Press, 2004). Copyright (c) 2004 by the Editors of Fine COoking. Reprinted by permission of Taunton Press.
Adapted from Cooking New American, by the Editors of Fine Cooking (Taunton Press, 2004).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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Cooking New American

How to cook the food you love to now


+ add your own
1:24AM PDT on May 24, 2012

Sounds delicious, but timing is important. One cannot let the polenta set.

5:19PM PST on Feb 23, 2011


4:31AM PST on Dec 29, 2010

Thanks for the article.

12:10PM PDT on Oct 10, 2010

Lovely, with non-dairy cheese though...

8:55AM PST on Dec 2, 2009


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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