I have been on a butternut squash BINGE. So much, that I think I might be butternut squash’d out. But just for a few days.
Fall dishes and the obligatory #PSL have been quite common at my home recently. I decided to make a recipe from my archives, a Butternut Squash Polenta Bake, but added a few additional ingredients!
The polenta at the base is TO DIE FOR. I added a tad of Parmigiano Reggiano and it brought out all the creaminess that will remind of you a good shrimp n grits dish.
I used Parmigiano Reggiano both in the polenta and also on top of the dish. I know you’re wondering, what is the difference between Parmigiano Reggiano and Parmesan? (Well, at least I was wondering.)
Parmigiano Reggiano is a protected cheese, made by only 350 different producers in Italy. They are the only ones certified to make it in certain protected area of origin. Parmesan is the name for various simulations of Parmigiano and is actually prohibited in the European Economic Area. Therefore, Parmigiano Reggiano is the only “true Parmesan”. (reminds me a bit of Champagne v. sparking wine)
And this “true Parmesan” is darn delicious, and actually nutritious! It is rich in proteins, lipids, calcium and phosphorus… AND it adds so much to any dish.
For the polenta, buy STONE GROUND cornmeal.
In a nutshell (or a corn-shell), stone ground cornmeal is to whole wheat bread, as steel-milled is to white bread.
In the steel-milled process, the hull and germ are removed, so it loses the fiber and nutrients. That’s no bueno!
The polenta takes about 45 minutes to cook, so I recommend making it ahead of time. But if you don’t have time, I’m sure you can manage cooking the cornmeal and the butternut squash at the same time!
I spruced up the recipe from last time, adding some kale (gotta get those greens!) and chopped walnuts. The butternut squash + Fall flavors + the nuttiness + basil + cheese is DEEEEELICIOUS. You’ll love it, I promise!
Disclosure: I received complementary Parmigiano Reggiano to include in this recipe, however all opinion are my own.
Butternut Squash Polenta Bake
- 1 cup Stone Ground medium grind Cornmeal
- 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated
- 1 medium Butternut Squash
- 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
- 1.5 tbsp Cinnamon
- 1 cup Almond Milk
- 1 tsp. Whole Wheat Flour
- 2 handfuls chopped Kale
- 5-6 Basil leaves chopped
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 1 tsp salt
- FOR THE POLENTA:
- Bring 5 cups of water to a boil.
- While stirring with a whisk, add 1 cup cornmeal slowly. Add salt.
- Continue stirring for 3-4 minutes, it will start to thicken.
- Simmer the cornmeal for the next 40-45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. (If it starts to look too dry, slowly add water until desired consistency.)
- Once cornmeal is cooked through, remove from heat and add 1/2 cup of grated Parmigiana Reggiano.
- Place cornmeal in a baking dish. (I used a 7 x 11 pan)
- FOR THE SQUASH:
- Peel and chop raw butternut squash into cubes (about ¾ inch).
- In a pan, heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil. Place squash in pan and top liberally with cinnamon (I use about 1.5 tbsp total). Toss to coat cubes with cinnamon.
- Let the squash cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring every minute.
- Mix almond milk with flour. Add to the squash, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes. (A fork should poke through easily when cooked.)
- Add chopped kale. Cook until kale wilts.
- Pour squash mixture over the polenta, in the baking pan.
- Top with grated Parmigiano Reggiano, chopped walnuts and chopped basil.
- Place in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, until polenta is warm and cheese is melted.