I had no idea when I added polenta to my Foodie Bucket List that it was going to be such a complex journey. Just like when I started doing research for making bagels, everyone not only has a different approach to making polenta, there are different main ingredients to take into consideration.
See you can make polenta with cornmeal or you can make it with polenta. What??? Oh and there is instant polenta too…!!!
Friends online said I could make do with cornmeal when making polenta so that is what I bought.
Really polenta is the name of a dish, not an ingredient, but you will find ground corn specifically for polenta:
The following is a recipe and tutorial for making polenta with cornmeal but thanks to Bob’s Red Mill I will be doing a taste and cooking comparison with real polenta cornmeal in the near future.
Some people cook their polenta with cream, milk, heavy cream… I wanted it as basic as possible so I choose to make mine with just 5 cups of water, 1 1/2 cup cornmeal, 2 tbsp butter and…
1/2 cup of freshly ground Parmesan cheese.
Bring water in a medium to large sauce pan to a boil. Slowly add the polenta, whisking it in constantly.
Reduce heat to low and cover but cook stirring frequently for 30 minutes. Some recipes say you can make polenta in half the time but considering I was using cornmeal and not official “polenta” grits I choose to cook it for 30 minutes.
You will at some point want to change to a wooden spoon. If you do not, you may end up with cornmeal all over your pot and burner like I did.
Stir in Parmesan.
One of the videos I watched on making polenta with cornmeal insisted that taking it off the heat and covering with a lid to meld together for a few minutes was the SECRET to perfect polenta. That some kind of foodie magic happens as a result so that is what I did.
Wow, it really did get very creamy!!! I thought for sure there would be some of that cornmeal grittiness that you experience with muffins and bread but nope, it gets velvety and luscious. I can see why so many families enjoy polenta as a base for meat sauces. It is super inexpensive and will feed a crowd. This recipe makes a ton of polenta!
Next I will show you what I did with the leftovers and the ragu sauce I made for it.