Polenta Al Forno with Collard Greens

Polenta Al Forno with Collard Greens

1 bunch collard greens, cut into 1” strips with stems removed
2 cups whole-milk ricotta
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Zest of 1 lemon
5 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
4.5 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup polenta

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add collard greens and blanch for two minutes. Drain in a large colander and allow to cool down completely.

Meanwhile, cook the polenta using the instructions on the package. Expect to about 1 cup polenta with about 4 cups water.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the collard greens are cool to the touch, grab a handful at a time and squeeze over the sink repeatedly to remove excess moisture. Set aside on a large cutting board.

Chop the collard greens. Set aside in a large bowl.

Combine collard greens with ricotta, lemon zest, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, 3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, and all but 3 tablespoons of the grated cheddar and mix well with a large spoon. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Lightly butter a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Spoon half of the cooked polenta into the baking dish and spread out with a spatula to make a thin layer. Spoon the collard green mixture evenly over the surface and spread with the spatula. Top with the remaining polenta and spread to smooth the surface. The polenta layer will seem very thin, and don’t worry if some of the collard green mixture can be seen though the top.

(May be made ahead up until this point, then covered and refrigerated. Allow to come to room temperature before baking.)

Sprinkle the top with two tablespoons of parmesan and the remaining three tablespoons of grated cheddar cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 375 F for 40-50 minutes, until lightly golden brown on top. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.