- Prep: 10 min
- Cook Time: 1 hr 10 min
- Total: 1 hr 20 min
- Serving: Serves 4-6
Polenta, which is ground cornmeal, is a staple Italian comfort food. Enjoy this gratin recipe as a hearty and cheesy side dish to lamb or a Sunday roast.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces sliced mixed wild mushrooms (5 cups)
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 8 ounces prewashed baby spinach (8 lightly packed cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1 (18-ounce) package prepared polenta, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 3 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (1 cup)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large saute pan, add the oil and heat on high until oil is hot but not smoking.
- Place the mushrooms in the pan and saute for about six minutes. Turn down the heat to medium-low and add in the shallot; continue to cook for about three minutes.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and add the spinach, thyme and nutmeg to the mixture. Saute for about two minutes and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the spinach in a 2-quart baking dish and spread out evenly to cover the entire bottom.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan and then add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, over medium-high heat. Pour in the chicken stock, cream and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and continue to briskly whisk for approximately five minutes until the sauce is thick. Pour the sauce over the spinach.
- Lay the slices of polenta over the spinach in a row with a slight overlap between slices. Lightly push polenta down so it is nestled in the spinach and sauce.
- Sprinkle the Gruyere cheese over the polenta and then cover the entire pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes.
- Switch the oven to boiler and remove the foil from the polenta. Broil the polenta about six inches from the heat until polenta turns a golden color, about two minutes. Remove pan from oven and let stand for at least ten minutes before serving.