Prep 1 hr
Cook 25 mins
Also known as "Torta di Polenta", this dish alternates layers of polenta, goat cheese and leeks. Some of the polenta is mixed with tomato sauce, some with chopped spinach. The result is a striped dish which calls to mind the Italian tri-colored flag (only with more stripes). This versatile dish is suitable for vegetarians but is hearty enough for the biggest eaters. It can be served hot or at room temperature and be part of a buffet or the main course for lunch or dinner with a green salad. Be forewarned, this takes a lot of time and effort to make, but in my opinion, is more than worth it! It keeps well too. One more thing, you must have a spring-form pan for this. Original recipe courtesy of Simms Brannon.
- 1 (28 ounce) canitalian chopped tomatoes
- 1 (1 lb) bunch fresh spinach, washed and de-stemmed
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 16 ounces fresh goat cheese
- 1⁄2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, leaves only or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 6 leeks, white part only,sliced crosswise into very thin rings
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 1⁄2 cups cornmeal
- 8 cups water
- Saute 2/3 of the garlic (4 cloves) in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until just golden.
- Add chopped tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Arrange spinach, while still wet from washing, in a large skillet and sprinkle with salt.
- Place over moderate heat and cook until spinach is completely wilted.
- Drain thoroughly of all excess water and chop coarsley.
- Saute spinach with remaining garlic (2 cloves) in 2 tablespoons olive oil and reserve.
- Saute leeks in 2 tablespoons olive oil over low heat until golden.
- Combine goat cheese, yogurt and thyme in a bowl and blend until creamy and spreadable.
- Dissolve 2 teaspoons salt in water in a large pot (preferably not too deep).
- Stir in cornmeal with a wire wisk and place over moderate heat.
- Continue stirring constantly with the whisk until cornmeal begins to thicken, then change to a wooden spoon.
- Polenta is done when it pulls away from the sides of the pan (about 15 minutes).
- Place 2/3 of the polenta in a bowl.
- Add 1 cup of the tomatoes.
- Add spinach to the remaining 1/3 of the polenta.
- Spread half the tomato-polenta mixture on the bottom of a lightly oiled 9 inch spring-form cake pan.
- Spread 1/2 of the goat cheese mixture over the tomato-polenta, then spread half of the leeks next.
- Continue layering the spinach-polenta mixture, the remaining goat cheese mixture and the remaining leeks.
- Top with the remaining tomato-polenta mixture.
- Bake in a 450º oven for 25 minutes.
- Allow to stand at least 10 minutes before removing spring-form ring.
- Cut in wedges and serve with remaining tomato sauce.