A quick corn recipe this time. Polenta has an interesting history in Jewish tradition – like other maize products, it really only became a thing after corn was brought from the New World in 1492. Polenta and similar corn porridges like mamaliga and gomi became common in certain pockets of the Jewish world: Italy, Romania, and Georgia are primary among them. Unlike rice, breads, and noodles though, there was no broad swathe of cornmeal-eaters. Georgian gomi tends to be white; Romanian mamaliga tends to be mushier, and Italian polenta tends to be firmer.
I made this casserole back over the summer when our internet was out for three days during Isaías, but had the wisdom to write this down.
6 cups cooked polenta (about 2 cups uncooked)
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil or butter + more for greasing
1 medium white onion, chopped
6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped finely
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, with the fluid
Salt and black pepper to taste (I find the goat cheese adds enough salt.)
1 teaspoon white wine or apple cider vinegar
3 cups frozen spinach
2 cups goat cheese crumbles
- If you haven’t already, make the polenta according to package directions. I use Bob’s Red Mill Polenta.
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Grease a 9×13” casserole with a very light layer of olive oil or butter.
- Heat a large skillet, then add the oil or melt the butter. Add the onions, garlic, and rosemary and sauté for a few minutes, or until the onions begin to wilt.
- Add the beans and fluid, salt, and pepper. Stir, then add the vinegar. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer for five to ten minutes, or until the fluid is mostly gone.
- Add the frozen spinach and mix in thoroughly, until it is cooked through. Remove the skillet from the heat.
- Spoon the polenta into the casserole. Then, spoon the skillet mixture on top. Add the goat cheese crumbles in an even layer on top of that.
- Bake for ten minutes, or until the cheese starts to brown. Serve hot.