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La Belle Cuisine
Torta di Polenta Rossa e
Verde col Trito di Maiale
(Red and Green Polenta Torta
with Ground Pork)
Marcella's Italian Kitchen
by Marcella Hazan, 1986, a Borzoi Book,
Alfred A, Knopf
“Polenta’s familiar corn-gold color here becomes spinach-green and
tomato-red. The polenta is divided into two batches, one mixed with
chopped spinach, the other with a tomato sauce. Sandwiched
between the red
and green layers is ground pork cooked with wine and
pine nuts. Twenty or so
minutes in the oven melds all parts into an un-
usual torta, one of the
best-looking things one can do with polenta.”
For 8 to 10
2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut
into very thin slices
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus
additional for smearing the
1 cup canned Italian peeled plum
cut up, with their juice
2 cups onion, sliced very thin
Black pepper in a grinder
1 pound ground pork, not too lean
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 pound fresh spinach
1/3 cup fine, dry unflavored bread
crumbs, toasted lightly in a pan
1 recipe polenta (recipe follows)
1/2 cup freshly grated
1. Put half the sliced garlic and 2 tablespoons of the olive
oil in a medium skillet and turn on the heat to medium.
2. When the garlic becomes colored a pale gold, add the
tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or so, until the oil
floats free of the tomatoes. Remove from the heat.
3. In a lidded skillet or sauté pan put the onion and 3
tablespoons of the
olive oil, turn on the heat to low, and cover the pan.
Cook the onion
until it is very soft, no less than 1 hour.
4. When the onion is soft, uncover the pan, turn up the
heat, and sauté
the onion until it becomes a pale nut brown.
5. Season with salt and pepper and add the meat. Cook the
pork, stirring frequently, until it is well done. Add a little more salt and pepper, then
add the wine. When the wine has bubbled away completely, add the
pine nuts. Stir once or twice, then remove from the heat.
6. Trim and wash the spinach, but do not chop it. Put it in
a pot with just
the water that clings to the leaves and 1 tablespoon salt.
Cover the pot
and cook the spinach until it is tender but not too soft.
7. Drain the spinach and squeeze it to force out all the
Chop the spinach very fine with a knife. Do not use a food
cessor or blender because they will liquefy it.
8. Put the remaining sliced garlic in a skillet together
with 1 tablespoon
of the olive oil and turn on the heat to medium.
9. When the garlic becomes colored a pale gold, add the
spinach. Sauté it for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, then
from the heat.
10. Smear the bottom of a 10pinch springform pan lightly
with olive oil
and sprinkle over it all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of the
crumbs. Set aside.
11. Make the polenta [as described in the recipe below]. At
while you are doing the polenta, turn on the oven to 450 degrees F.
12. When the polenta is done, divide it into 2 equal parts
and put each
in a separate bowl.
13. Add the spinach to one of the bowls and mix well.
14. Add the tomatoes to the other bowl and mix well.
15. Transfer the polenta and tomato mixture to the
springform pan and
level it. Sprinkle on it 1/4 cup of the grated cheese,
then spread over
it the ground pork and onions, and top with the remaining
16. Top with the polenta and spinach mixture. Over it
sprinkle the re-
maining bread crumbs and dribble on the remaining tablespoon
olive oil. Work rapidly while the polenta is still warm, because when
cools and stiffens it becomes difficult to spread.
17. Place the pan in the uppermost level of the preheated
oven and bake
for 20 to 25 minutes. When done, remove from the pan and allow
to settle for about 5 minutes before serving. Serve cut into wedges,
consists of corn flour, water, and a well-lubricated elbow. The flour
becomes polenta when, with constant stirring, it absorbs all the water and
turns into a homogeneous, soft, yet compact mass that wipes cleanly away
form the side of
7 cups water
1 2/3 cups (7 ounces)
1. Put the water in a broad, heavy-bottomed pot and bring it
to a boil
over high heat.
2. Add the salt, then add the polenta flour in a thin
trickle, letting it stream through the fingers of one hand and, with the
other hand, beating it into
the water with a whisk.
3. When you have put in all the polenta flour, lower the
heat to medium
and begin to stir with a long wooden spoon. Cook, stirring
for 40 minutes, or until the polenta comes easily away from the
of the pot. [Proceed as in recipe above.]
Ahead-of-Time Note: It may be prepared entirely in advance, through
16, as far ahead as the morning for the evening. Do not refrigerate
overnight because it would alter the spinach’s flavor.
Suggestions: Suitable for a satisfyingly earthy single-course
well as for a buffet.
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