Spinach & Ricotta Polenta Cakes

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Polenta is pretty much a staple in most Italian homes- even more so in Gluten Intolerant Italian homes.

I love Polenta. There are so many things you can do with it! I always keep 2 kinds of cornmeal in my house for polenta. Fine and coarse grain.

Does it matter what type you use depending on what you are doing? Not really… I tend to use the fine grain if I’m looking for a more of a creamy consistency and the coarse if I’m looking for it to set up to be sliced and fried but either kind will work no matter what you are making.

In my last post I said how I was making the Coconut Dream Bars for a get together I was going too, well these Polenta cakes will also be joining the party.

For the cake part you need

1 cup of polenta (coarse or fine grain) I used course
4 cups water
1 tablespoon extra virgin or virgin olive oil
4-6 garlic cloves, minced- if you like more garlic use more garlic 🙂
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup sweet corn kernels- frozen or from a can it doesn’t make a difference
1/3 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese or a mix- again whatever you like
1 teaspoon salt

In a medium sized pan heat the olive oil on low- medium and heat garlic for about 1-2 minutes. Then add in the water and salt. Right before it comes to a boil add in basil. Once at a boil slowly stir in cornmeal, stirring continuously. The polenta will thicken in about 3-5 minutes, when it does stir in the corn. Cook for about 5 mins and stir in the cheese. Continue cooking 3-5 mins until the polenta is very thick and sticky.

Remove from heat.

Pour polenta out on a lined cookie sheet- I used parchment paper but foil, wax paper, anything will do. And spread with a spatula. You are looking for about 1/2 inch thickness.

Let this cool completely.

Now you can either move onto the next step or this can be done a day ahead of time. If you are doing this a day ahead- once cooled cover with Saran Wrap and refrigerate over night.

When you are ready to fry cut the polenta into squares. Whatever size you won’t is fine. Since I’m taking it to a party I went with 2 inch squares. This gave me 24 pieces per batch.

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In a sauté pan heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is heated fry the polenta cakes until golden brown. Each side should take about 5 minutes.

Once the cakes are golden brown place them onto a plate lined with paper towel, once extra oil is soaked up by paper towel move to a cooling rack.

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Now for the topping 🙂

Topping Ingredients:
1 cup Ricotta cheese
4 cups baby spinach leaves
4 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
And if you like a little kick 1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Sauté the spinach and garlic with the olive oil and once wilted move to a small mixing bowl.
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Combine the ricotta cheese with the spinach mixture and add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

Heat the broiler on high. Take each polenta cake, add a dollop of the ricotta mixture on top and place on a cookie sheet. Pop the cookie sheet into the oven and broil for about 3-5 minutes. Take the cakes out of the oven and you are ready to go.

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Serve and enjoy!

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