Torta di Polenta Rossa e Verde col Trito di Maiale

Red and Green Polenta Torta with Ground Pork

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • For

    8 to 10


Appears in

Marcella's Italian Kitchen

Marcella's Italian Kitchen

By Marcella Hazan

Published 1986

  • About

Polenta’s familiar corn-gold color here becomes spinach-green and tomato-red. The polenta is divided into two batches, one mixed with sautéed chopped spinach, the other with a tomato sauce. Sandwiched between the red and green layers is ground pork cooked with wine and pine nuts. Twenty or so minutes in the oven meld all parts into an unusual torta, one of the best-looking things one can do with polenta.


  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into very thin slices
  • 7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional oil for smearing the baking pan
  • 1 cup canned Italian peeled plum tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
  • 2 cups onion sliced very thin
  • Salt
  • Black pepper in a grinder
  • 1 pound ground pork, not too lean
  • cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 pound fresh spinach
  • cup fine, dry, unflavored bread crumbs, toasted lightly in a pan as described
  • 1 recipe Polenta
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano (Parmesan)


  1. Put half the sliced garlic and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium skillet and turn on the heat to medium.
  2. When the garlic becomes colored a pale gold, add the tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or so, until the oil floats free of the tomatoes. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a lidded skillet or sauté pan put the onion and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, turn on the heat to low, and cover the pan. Cook the onion until it is very soft, no less than 1 hour.
  4. When the onion is soft, uncover the pan, turn up the heat, and sauté the onion until it becomes colored a pale nut brown.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and add the meat. Cook the pork, stirring frequently, until it is well done. Add a little more salt and pepper, then add the wine. When the wine has bubbled away completely, add the pine nuts. Stir once or twice, then remove from the heat.
  6. Trim and wash the spinach as described, but do not chop it. Put it in a pot with just the water that clings to the leaves and 1 tablespoon of salt. Cover the pot and cook the spinach until it is tender but not too soft.
  7. Drain the spinach and squeeze it to force out all the liquid possible. Chop the spinach very fine with a knife. Do not use a food processor or blender because they will liquefy it.
  8. Put the remaining sliced garlic in a skillet together with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and turn on the heat to medium.
  9. When the garlic becomes colored a pale gold, add the chopped spinach. Sauté it for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from the heat.
  10. Smear the bottom of a 10-inch spring-form pan lightly with olive oil and sprinkle over it all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of the toasted bread crumbs. Set aside.
  11. Make the polenta as directed. At any time while you are doing the polenta, turn on the oven to 450°F.
  12. When the polenta is done, divide it into 2 equal parts and put each in a separate bowl.
  13. Add the spinach to one of the bowls and mix well.
  14. Add the tomatoes to the other bowl and mix well.
  15. Transfer the polenta and tomato mixture to the springform pan and level it. Sprinkle on it ¼ cup of the grated cheese, then spread over it the ground pork and onions, and top with the remaining cheese.
  16. Top with the polenta and spinach mixture. Over it sprinkle the remaining bread crumbs and dribble on the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Work rapidly while the polenta is still warm, because when it cools and stiffens it becomes difficult to spread.
  17. Place the pan in the uppermost level of the preheated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When done, remove from the pan and allow to settle for about 5 minutes before serving. Serve cut into wedges, like a cake.

Serving Suggestions

Suitable for a satisfyingly earthy single-course dinner as well as for a buffet.