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:
“Packages labeled polenta mean that the grind of the corn is appropriate to make the polenta dish, but you can substitute regular medium or coarsely-ground cornmeal instead.”
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.
Debra She Who Seeks says
So is polenta what they call “grits” in the South and serve with breakfast? Or is that something else? I’ve never had polenta or grits, It’s a mystery to me.
Suzie the Foodie says
THAT is confusing too!!!! Here is a quote I found but it doesn’t some definitive: “Most grits in the South are traditionally made from a class of corn called dent corn whereas in Italy, most polenta is made from a class of corn called flint corn, which holds its texture better. Why do these different classes matter? Because of the different type of corn, grits can even come across as almost mushy while polenta is often more coarse and toothsome.” http://www.thekitchn.com/polenta-versus-grits-whats-the-difference-187807
You know, my polenta wasn’t coarse so…???!!!
I’ve never tried this before. Maybe I’m going to try this on the weekend. Thanks for sharing!
What is polenta? Is this like a type of soup or something similar to a grit? I think I need to research more about this.
Suzie the Foodie says
Polenta is made from corn and is used like a side dish, the Italian “grits” basically.