Savory cobbler uses cornbread

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Food & Dining

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Potpies are just plain appealing, but the crust and filling are loaded with fat and calories.

Here, corn bread takes the place of a standard pie crust. It brings fiber, flavor and a savory-sweet homeyness to the dish. I like to start with the recipe on the back of a cornmeal package, but feel free to improvise.

I use cornstarch, not the usual butter-and-flour roux, to thicken the filling. The only tricky part is that there's no perfect ratio of cornstarch to broth. You might need to add extra cornstarch dissolved in wine, broth or cold water.

Spinach and Mushroom Torte

Makes 10 to 12 servings

This dish can easily be prepared a day in advance. Reheat uncovered in a 350-F oven.

1 tablespoon mild olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

½ cup finely diced onion

12 ounces white mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and thinly sliced

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

8 large eggs, beaten

1½ cups low-fat milk (2 percent)

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

¼ cup flour

Freshly grated nutmeg

One 16-ounce bag frozen spinach, defrosted

6 ounces crumbled feta cheese (1½ cups)

½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Have a 9-by-13-inch baking dish at hand.

Heat the oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high. Add the onion; cook for about three minutes, until it just starts to soften. Stir in the mushrooms, then season with salt and pepper to taste; cook, stirring and flipping the mushrooms every couple of minutes, for eight to 10 minutes, until they begin to brown and the moisture they release has evaporated. Transfer to a large plate to cool for a few minutes.

Whisk together the eggs, milk and ricotta; while whisking, sprinkle in the flour. Season with the nutmeg and with salt and pepper to taste.

Squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the defrosted spinach, then stir the spinach into the ricotta mixture, breaking up any clumps so the spinach is distributed evenly. Add the cooked mushrooms along with the feta and Parmesan cheeses, stirring until well incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the torte is firm and just starting to brown around the edges. If it puffs up, don’t worry; it will deflate as it cools.

Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Per serving (based on 12): 200 calories, 14 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 170 mg cholesterol, 360 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar