Polenta Florentine

Polenta Florentine, on a Monday night – we’re so fancy! Actually, it’s a pretty easy dish to throw together when you make the polenta the day before. Then, all you have to do is layer slices of polenta in a pan, make a béchamel sauce and bake it in the oven. It does double duty counting as a starch and a vegetable – and I get to kick my cooking rut to the curb! 

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups yellow corn meal
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil

1. In a large bowl, combine water, cornmeal, and salt, microwave, uncovered for 6 minutes.

2. Remove from microwave, stir well, then cook for another 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons of butter, add fresh ground pepper. Let rest for 5 minutes.

3. Grease a loaf pan with a half tablespoon of butter. Pour polenta into loaf pan and brush the top with the remaining butter. Let stand until it’s cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.

  • 1 – 6 oz. package baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour (or cornstarch)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 400º. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray or butter.
  2. Remove polenta from loaf pan and slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Season the pieces with salt and pepper. Lay the pieces in the baking dish in three rows, overlapping them slightly and set aside.
  3. Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat, toss in the spinach, and stir until it’s wilted. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Melt the butter in the same pan over medium heat, the add the onion, garlic, and salt. Cook until soft, and 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the flour, and stir for 1 minute. Add the milk, and let simmer – stirring with a wooden spoon, until it thickens to the consistency of heavy cream, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, stir in 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese, wilted spinach, and lemon juice.
  6. Pour spinach mixture over the polenta, and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered until golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Run the pan under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.





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