I rarely enjoy making the same thing twice in the period of two weeks. I love variety in the food I eat, so I consequently stay away from large casserole recipes because I get bored with them really quickly. However, this gem serves 6-8 people and I made it twice in a week – I loved it that much. This is a big deal, friends. The Polenta, Mushroom, and Swiss Chard Casserole boasts a polenta base, followed by a layer of simmered mushroom-tomato-Swiss chard goodness, topped off with melty fresh mozzarella. I think it’s at its best a day or two after you make it – the extra time gives everything a chance to really to firm up so you can cut it into squares, as opposed to the 30-minutes-out-of-the-oven delicious mess you see pictured below. I adapted this recipe from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen by subbing out the fontina for mozzarella and reducing the amount of mushrooms. I like to think of myself as a fun guy (haha, get it?), but I felt the amount of mushrooms the recipe originally called for was way to much for my personal tastes.
Also, I feel a little disappointed that my photos for this recipe aren’t my best – I waited a little too late in the day to photograph these and intense sunbeams were making their through my west-facing window. I hunkered down on the far side of the room, but I had only minutes before they reached me (as you can see by the glow in the left side of top photo). But I promise, this casserole is so delicious and my photos don’t do it justice.
- • 1 cup polenta
- • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- • 3 tablespoons olive oil
- • 1 onion, diced
- • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced thin
- • 3 garlic cloves, minced
- • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme)
- • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
- • 8 oz Swiss chard, stems removed and greens cut into 1" pieces
- • 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into small pieces
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Cook the polenta according to package instructions. When it is done, remove it from the heat, stir in the butter, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour polenta into a 13x9 baking dish and smooth into an even layer.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they have released their liquid and are well browned, about 15-20 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the Swiss chard, one handful at a time, and cook until wilted, about 2 to 4 minutes.
- Spread the mushroom mixture evenly over the polenta, and evenly sprinkle with the pieces of fresh mozzarella. Bake casserole until warmed through and the cheese is melted, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen