Green Polenta with Red Russian Kale

Recipe from: The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters


1 teaspoon salt plus more for finishing the dish
1 cup whole grain polenta
1 bunch Red Russian kale
2 teaspoons + 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a heavy bottomed pot. When the water is boiling, slowly whisk in 1 teaspoon of salt and the polenta. Keeping whisking until the polenta is suspended in the water and no longer sinking to the bottom of the pot. Turn down the heat and cook for 1 hour at a bare simmer, stirring now and then. If it gets very thick, add a bit more water, but you want it to be pretty thick as it will thin out when you add the greens.

Wash the leaves and drain. Cook until tender in boiling, salted water. Drain well, reserving 1 cup or so of the cooking liquid, and let cool. Place the cooked greens in a blender or food processor and purée with 2 teaspoons butter or olive oil and a bit of salt. Add a splash of cooking liquid if needed to get it to purée. You should have about 1 cup of purée. If you don’t have a blender or food processor, you can chop everything very finely (with the fat and salt).

When the polenta is done cooking, add the purée along with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil.