Polenta is my comfort food. I like the way it bends to accommodate broth or cream, butter or olive oil, Parmesan or cherries. This particular dish is a blend of favorites. A variation on an acorn squash polenta from an October four years back and, I don’t know, pizza? Single-layer lasagna? Whatever the inspiration or what the finished dish ought to be called or compared to, this is a very tasty skillet.
My skillet polenta does have a few steps, but the squash can be roasted ahead. One place to save some time is by using Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes. They come out of the can smoky and bright and vibrant. It just takes a minute on the stove to render them even more delicious – here I went with a generous splash of olive oil, balsamic, and shallots (plus s and p). That’s it!
Depending on the size of your butternut, you’ll likely have leftover squash. This can be folded into broth, tomato sauce, or mashed with butter.
A crispy baked butternut squash polenta skillet topped with rich tomato sauce, mozzarella, and fresh herbs.
- 1 teaspoon neutral cooking oil (such as grapeseed or canola)
- 1 small butternut squash, trimmed, halved, and seeded
- 1/2 cup polenta
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 cups water
- sea salt
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 28- ounce can Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves, fresh if possible
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley, plus more for garnish
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Rub squash on both sides with grapeseed oil. Set on a small rimmed baking sheet sliced side down and cover tightly with foil. Bake 40 - 50 minutes or until squash is cooked through and easily mashed with a fork. (Be mindful of the steam plume when lifting foil to check on squash.) Squash can be made ahead and kept covered in the fridge until needed. When ready to use, scoop flesh out of the skin and mash with a fork. Reserve 1 cup.
If you've made squash ahead of time, heat oven to 400 degrees F, otherwise, just leave it on.
To make polenta, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Add polenta, stir to toast briefly, and then gradually whisk in boiling water and a 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Stirring often, cook until mixture starts to bubble; then turn heat to medium-low and cook 10 minutes or until polenta has thickened.
Add 1 cup reserved mashed squash and stir until mixture is smooth.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 9-inch skillet or other deep-sided ovenproof vessel. Pour in polenta and slide into the oven. Bake until polenta is golden on top and the edges are crisp and pulling away from the side of the pan, 50 - 60 minutes.
Meanwhile, make tomato sauce. In a medium-sized saucepan oven medium heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in shallots and sauté 5 - 7 minutes. Add vinegar, cook 2 minutes or so, and then fold in diced tomatoes, a pinch sea salt, bay leaves, and black pepper to taste. Bring to a gentle boil and then turn heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomato sauce is quite thick, about 15 minutes. Fold in parsley, remove from heat, and set aside.
Once polenta's cooked, spoon tomato sauce onto the center, arrange mozzarella on top, and finish with parsley and black pepper. Bake in a 425-degree oven until cheese is melted and bubbly, 10 - 12 minutes. Cool briefly, slice, and serve.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Muir Glen Organic. Thanks for supporting the brands we love!