This savory polenta torta (Italian for cake or tart) gets big flavor from roasted squash and slow-cooked onions. Kabocha squash lends a dense texture and nutty flavor, but you can also use butternut. This makes a great vegetarian entree, and would be especially welcome at the Thanksgiving table as an alternate main course.
Make Ahead Tips
The assembled torta can be made one or two days ahead and refrigerated, tightly wrapped in plastic. Let it sit on a rimmed baking sheet at room temperature for about an hour before baking as directed in the recipe.
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Loved, loved, loved this! Made this yesterday to accompany a duck dinner. Added some orange zest to the marmalade. The liquid amount for the polenta IS correct. A tip I learned (and my polenta comes out perfectly each time) is to place your polenta, liquid and salt (although I salt at the end to taste) into an oven safe pot (ie. dutch oven). Give a quick stir then place uncovered into a preheated 350 degree oven. Cook for 40 minutes WITHOUT stirring. Remove, stir and add any additions (ie. your cheese if using etc), return and bake another 10 minutes if you'd like. The polenta comes out creamy and perfect every time. For this recipe I didn't add the cheese as duck is very rich, and I used chicken stock for the polenta. Chilled for several hours and it slipped from the spring form beautifully. As another writer mentioned, I kept mine on the bottom springform plate and then baked. Came out perfectly (wish we could post photos). Had some left over today with poached eggs. Thanks Fine Cooking!
I made the polenta using my pressure cooker-8 minutes under pressure, quick release, then stir and add the squash and the cheese. My first exposure to kabocha squash, it's terrific.Thanks to @cooksforfive, made sure my onion jam was really cooked down--took about an hour. Also, my polenta was pretty thick as well. Only had two hours to chill the assembled torta before cooking--and I was delighted that it was firm and well molded. Kept it on the bottom of the springform pan after removing the sides, couldn't understand why the recipe calls for it to be moved, a springform pan is designed to go into the oven. I just moved it to a baking sheet. It was gorgeous and delicious--and a great leftover as well. A hot slice of leftover torta topped with an over-easy egg makes a delicious breakfast!
I made this for company and it was a hit. It looked elegant and the flavors were very good (I used butternut squash). I did add salt to the polenta (and, contrary to what another reviewer said, the measurements are correct - it's 5 cups broth and 1 quart water) and cooked it until it was smooth and quite thick. I refrigerated the torta for several hours and it was firm when I removed the sides of the springform pan. I baked it on a pizza pan because I didn't have an oven-proof platter. Make sure to cook down the onions until there is no moisture - that may have contributed to soggy tortas.
Gotta agree with lyricman's review on all points. I made this for company and it oozed all over the baking pan into a heap that didn't look very attractive. Tasted good, not great.I never mind the work that goes into a great recipe but this one wasn't worth it.
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