I got this pie plate as a birthday gift from a cousin with exceptional taste. And, although I love it, I am pretty sure my two-and-a-half year old nephew could count high enough to reach the total number of sweet pies I have made in my life. But, I have refused to let that one little detail reduce this beautiful dish to a life of collecting dust in my cabinet.
I often find myself drawn to healthy, savory pies and tarts purely with the thought of serving it in this dish. Crustless quiche, lasagna pie, baked vegetable gratin,summertime tomato pie, and numerous versions of this polenta pie have all been baked to (near) perfection in this little ceramic pie plate.
The polenta pie started with a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Moosewood Restaurant Low-fat Favorites. I have changed it a little and used the easy “crust” as a base for many other savory dishes because it’s tasty and much healthier than a traditional pie crust. Now I’m thinking that maybe I shouldn’t stop with savory pies… sweet cinnamon apple polenta pie sounds pretty tasty too…
Kale & Mushroom Polenta Pie
3 cups water
1 cup polenta (coarse ground cornmeal)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cups mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
4 cups stemmed and chopped kale or swiss chard
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup tomato paste with a bit of water stirred in or 1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup cottage cheese, drained (optional)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (optional)
halved cherry tomatoes or sliced roma tomatoes for garnish
1. Prepare 1 cup dry polenta using 3 cups water and the directions from Un-fussy polenta. Set aside to cool slightly. As polenta is finishing, turn on oven to pre-heat to 400°.
2. While polenta is cooking and cooling, dice the onion, slice the mushrooms,
and halve the tomatoes (or slice into discs if using roma tomatoes).
3. Heat a large skillet over very low heat. Add onions and mushrooms to the dry skillet and sweat them stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Continue cooking until onions are translucent.
4. While mushrooms are cooking, lightly spray pie plate with cooking oil. Pour cooked polenta into the pie pan.
5. Press polenta into pan to create an even coating on bottom and up sides. Set aside.
6. Add garlic and kale and turn heat up just a little. Add salt and pepper, cover and continue cooking until kale is wilted. Turn off heat and drain any excess liquid. Stir in tomato sauce and cottage cheese until combined.
7. Pour mixture evenly over “crust”.
8. Top with tomato slices and Parmesan cheese (if using).
9. Bake pie for 20-25 minutes in preheated oven, or until cheese melts and starts to bubble.
Cool in pan 10 minutes before serving.