Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Delicious Night: Polenta & A Pear Tart

Tonight I made a great recipe out of my huge envelope of randomly collected recipes. This was a recipe for a "Polenta Torta with Roasted Squash". I got it from my newspaper, but apparently it's from "The New Vegetarian Epicure". I only made a half recipe, because it was just for the two of us, but I will give you all the full recipe (veganized, of course!)... and with the few little changes that I made:

2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 T olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 T Marsala
3 c Vegetable Broth
3 c water
1 1/2 c coarse-ground polenta
3/4 c frozen corn kernals
2 c thick puree of roasted butternut squash

First, get your squash roasting in the oven. Turn the oven to 400 F, and then cut your squash in half lengthwise & scoop out the seeds. Place the squash, cut side down on a sheet or in a baking dish. Cook until super soft, about 1 hour. To speed it up, you can also cut the squash into 1-inch thick medallions, lightly brush with olive oil, arrange on a baking sheet and bake until very soft (about 35-45 min). To puree it, just stir it up with a fork until it's pretty smooth.

Next, in a large non-stick skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook very slowly, stirring occassionally... until they are browned and caramelized, about 45 minutes. When they are done, add the marsala, and stir to get any glazing off the pan... and let the alcohol evaporate a bit.

Meanwhile, bring the water & broth to a boil, and then stir in the polenta. Bring it to a simmer, and cook for about 25 minutes, stirring frequently (although I was busy making something else & only stirred every once in a while, and it turned out great!). Add in the frozen corn, and cook about 5 minutes more. Stir in the caramelized onions and the squash. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a pie dish and smooth the top.

You can seal it with plastic wrap and store it like this for one or two days... or you can eat it just like this... or (after it has cooled a bit) you can invert it onto a rimless baking sheet & bake it at 375 for up to 30 minutes, and then slide it onto a serving dish. I inverted it and baked it for about 15 minutes, it was quite nice.

I served a huge mountain of simple chard sauteed with garlic (two entire bunches)... A great, great combo. This recipe is absurdely delicious!!! A rich, nourishing flavor and texture... very fantastic.

While all those things were cooking, I also made three more jars of applesauce (ahhh... now that box of apples will no longer taunt me everytime I walk through the kitchen!), and the lovely, amazing, and stunning "Pear and Cranberry Tart" from VwaV.

This was another pie contest experiment, and I must say, it is INSANELY good. What a successful and decadent food night we had tonight! I reduced the spices slightly in the pear tart, and had to jack up the heat to 400 for an additional 10-12 minutes. Boy oh boy oh boy... this little baby is G-O-O-D. The crust is flaky and delicate, the pears are great... super. I was going to bring it to my yoga class, but Musty has already eaten about half of it! oops!


  1. Anonymous11:35 PM

    Both of these dishes look like contest winners! Lol! The polenta with butternut squash is a great idea! Looks so good with the chard too.

    That tart! WOW! I don't even remember seeing that recipe in Vwav! I overlooked something that beautiful?! I will try it. I get I could bring this for the holidays too and my family would love it!! :)

  2. Anonymous7:27 AM

    You are so incredible with these tarts. I can't get over how beautiful they are. I have been making sweets lately but Marty hasn't been eating them which is not good. I can't (shouldn't) go through 2 dozen cookies by myself!

  3. Oh, this is great news. I was thinking about making that tart for Thanksgiving, and now I will definitely make it. Wow, it is beautiful.

    That polenta looks great too. Do you think the marsala is necessary to this recipe? With only 2 Tbsp., I don't know what I'd do with the rest of the bottle, but if it really makes the dish I'll leave it in.

  4. Hi Candi!
    Yes, this is definitely a holiday delight. I think I might make it for the holidays. It's also really easy, which is a bonus. I recommend it!

    Hi VivV,
    Oh dear... i know how it is when I catch myself eating too much of a sweetie. It's so important that Musty likes it too, otherwise I know I'll eat the whole thing!

    Hi Jen,
    Yeah, definitely make this for thanksgiving, you won't be sorry! Plus, it's quite light... which I think is perfect for a thanksgiving dessert. As far as the marsala, I'm not sure if two Tablespoons is worth it. I went out and bought some just for this, but I just picked out the cheapest bottle at safeway (about $4).... not too bad. Anyhow, I'll look for other recipes that call for it as well, try to use a bit more of it before it goes bad. It would probably be just as good with any wine or with no wine at all.

    :) Amey


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