Baked Butternut Squash and Cheese Polenta
Provided by: Food&Wine
Anna Thomas's 1970s book, The Vegetarian Epicure , is iconic; updated in the '90s and rechristened The New Vegetarian Epicure , it focuses on recipes for entertaining. One of her latest dishes is this crusty baked polenta, swirled with mashed butternut squash and smoked Gouda cheese.
- 1 2-pound butternut squashpeeled, seeded and sliced 1 inch thick
- 2 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
- 1/3 cup(s) pine nuts
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon(s) dried sage, crumbled
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 6 cup(s) water
- 2 cup(s) coarse polenta
- Unsalted butter
- 4 ounce(s) smoked Gouda, shredded 1 cup
- 1/4 cup(s) plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Arrange the squash on a large oiled baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, until tender. Transfer the squash to a bowl and mash coarsely. (You should have about 1 1/2 cups.) Spread the pine nuts on a pie plate and toast in the oven for 4 minutes, until golden. Coarsely chop the nuts.
- 2. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and sage and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, 25 minutes; add a few tablespoons of water if the onion looks dry.
- 3. In a saucepan, bring the 6 cups of water to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook over very low heat, stirring frequently, until tender, about 35 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of butter along with the mashed squash, pine nuts, onion, Gouda and half of the grated Parmigiano cheese. Pour the hot polenta into a buttered large cast-iron skillet. Flatten the top of the polenta slightly without spreading it to the edges; refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.
- 4. Rub the surface of the polenta with softened butter and sprinkle with the remaining grated Parmigiano cheese. Bake in a 375° oven for 1 hour, until the top and side are lightly browned and crisp. Let stand for 20 minutes before cutting it into wedges.