Ever since I developed the Chili Millet Bake recipe, I’ve been dreaming about other “millet bake” variations. This Italian-take combines white beans, mushrooms and Swiss chard in a rich tomato-based stew, which then gets topped with a thick layer of Parmesan-laced millet. The whole thing is baked until bubbly around the edges. The creamy millet, which gets slightly crisp around the edges, is delicious on its own but phenomenal with a garlicky bite of the beans and greens below.
The leftovers are great the next day for lunch… or breakfast. After an arduous morning of building garden beds a few weeks ago (see rock excavating below), James heated up leftovers of the millet bake and slid a fried egg on top. With a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a shaving of Parmesan, it was a breakfast of champions. He even found the strength to finish the vegetable beds.
Italian-Style White Bean & Millet Bake
- 1 cup millet
- 1 teaspoon sea salt plus additional for seasoning
- 1 tablespoon butter or ghee
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese , divided (I grate it on a microplane), plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion , finely diced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces mushrooms , thinly sliced (I usually use cremini, but any variety will do)
- 2 large garlic cloves , minced
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 bunch Swiss chard , bottom stems trimmed, leaves and other stems finely chopped
- 2 cups cooked cannellini beans or 1 15-ounce can , drained and rinsed
- 1 14- ounce can stewed tomatoes or tomato puree , or 2 cups leftover marinara sauce
- Pinch cinnamon
- Fresh basil for serving (optional)
- If you have the time, soak the millet (to remove the phytic acid – if you don’t have time or if you forget, don’t sweat it). Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
- In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon sea salt and the millet. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low simmer; cover and cook 15-20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and millet is tender. Stir in the butter or ghee, along with ½ cup of the cheese. Season to taste with additional salt, if needed. Cover and keep warm.
- While the millet cooks, start the filling. In a 12-inch (preferably cast iron) skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle in the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes. Add the tomato paste. Stir 1 minute. Add the Swiss chard and a pinch of salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are wilted. Stir in the tomatoes, ½ cup water, the cannellini beans and a pinch of cinnamon. Bring to a boil and simmer 3-5 minutes, or until thickened. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Dollop the millet over the filling and spread it out in a smooth layer (it doesn’t have to be perfect!). Sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes, or until bubbling and lightly golden around the edges. Let cool 5 minutes. Spoon the mixture into wide bowls and garnish with freshly sliced or torn basil (if you’d like) and grated Parmigiano.