These gorgeous green parcels, best eaten on a Sunday night in front of a fire, are both dramatic and comforting (think lasagna without the pasta, ricotta, or mozzarella). Use the largest Swiss chard leaves you can, and keep in mind the polenta will take a full hour to chill.
3/4 c. dry polenta (coarse cornmeal)
1 Tbs. butter
1 c. grated parmesan cheese, divided
3 Tbs. chopped basil
1 1/4 c. of your favorite marinara or tomato sauce, divided
8 very large chard leaves, swished in cold water
1. Coat a 9 1/2-inch square pan with oil and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water and 1 tsp. salt to a boil. Whisk in polenta and reduce the heat to a gentle gurgle. Cook until thick, 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, half the cheese, basil, and a generous pinch of pepper.
3. Scrape the polenta into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Cool for 15 minutes at room temperature, then refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour (after 1 hour, cover with plastic wrap). Unmold and cut into eight 4×2-inch rectangles. Wipe the baking pan dry and spread half of the marinara along the bottom.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bring a kettle of water to a boil. Have several paper towels on hand.
5. Make a narrow, upside-down V-shaped cut about halfway down each chard leaf to remove the thick central stem. Place leaves in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soften about 6 minutes. Remove to the paper towels and pat very dry.
6. To form the rolls, lay 1 chard leaf on a cutting board. Lay 1 polenta rectangle horizontally along the bottom of the leaf and spoon 1 teaspoon of marinara sauce on top. Roll the leaf up, burrito-style, encasing the polenta, and transfer to the baking pan, seam side down. Repeat, nestling the rolls next to one another. Spoon the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
7. Bake for 10 minutes, then slip under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to brown the cheese. Serve hot.