April 11, 2011

Creamy Polenta

Polenta is an Italian version of cooked grain, commonly made with white or yellow cornmeal, and often referred to as a peasant food due to the use of an inexpensive and accessible ingredient. Cooked grains have been a staple of Italian cuisine for many years, though earlier forms of polenta utilized a variety of ingredients such as farro and chestnut because corn had yet to be introduced to Europe from the Americas. Polenta is served in different ways depending on the region including soft, dense, firm, shaped or fried. I like to serve polenta with stuffed summer squash or stuffed acorn squash.

Any grind of cornmeal will work, but cooking time may have to be adjusted. More water may be added as necessary. Any fresh herb will work.

1 c cornmeal, finely ground

4 c water

¼ c parmesan, grated

1 tbsp butter

1 large clove garlic, pressed or finely chopped

1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

salt and pepper

1. In a large heavy pot, combine cornmeal and water and place over medium-high heat. Bring contents to a boil, stirring continually to prevent cornmeal from clumping or sticking to the bottom. Reduce heat to medium or medium-low, so that contents are at a simmer. Continue stirring frequently until water content has been reduced and mixture is creamy, 30-40 minutes. Once desired consistency has been reached, remove polenta from heat.

2. Add Parmesan, butter, garlic and rosemary to polenta, stirring to thoroughly combine, cover and set aside for 10 minutes.

3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Serves 3-4


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