Along with pasta, polenta is one of the most popular foods in Italy. Over the past decade, this food has gained in popularity worldwide, with gourmet chefs creating innovative dishes using polenta. Made of cornmeal, this whole grain is easy to prepare and may be combined with many different types of food. Best of all, polenta is inexpensive, so it helps you stretch your food budget.
Polenta From Scratch
Although you can buy ready-made polenta at the store, preparing polenta from scratch is super easy. To make basic polenta, start with fine- to medium-grained cornmeal, water and salt. Look for stone ground cornmeal as this features help-s keep more of the grain’s nutrients.For richer flavor, use broth or stock and add butterand or cheese if desired. About three to four cups of water to one cup of cornmeal will make a soft polenta. For a firmer version, use less water.
A wooden spoon is essential to successfully preparing polenta as it requires a lot of stirring to smooth lumps and avoid burning. You will also need a large heavy stockpot to accommodate the polenta. Simply boil it in water or stock until you achieve the desired consistency.
Adding Flavors To Polenta
Let your imagination run wild when deciding what flavors to add to polenta. Vegetables such as zucchini or finely chopped broccoli add interesting color and texture. Mushrooms, peas and eggplant are also popular additions. Adding cheese like grated Parmesan or crumbled gorgonzola also boosts the flavor, but keep in mind that it will raise the fat content. Other popular additions include truffles or truffle oil, olive oil, shrimp or chopped meats, particularly pork.
After it is cooked and cooled, polenta becomes firm, allowing you to cut it into squares for grilling, baking, sauteing or frying. It can be served as a side dish or as a main course and may be topped with sauces, meats, cheeses or herbs.
When Making Polenta You Have Endless Possibilities For Different Creations. Check Out The Gallery Below:
Preparing polenta fries with aioli, a seasoned mayonnaise-based dipping sauce, is another increasingly popular option. Try polenta squares with mushroom ragu, or for a creamier option, try soft polenta with lemon, thyme and carrots. You can even make polenta fired or baked chips and top them with roasted pepper salsa. The possibilities are endless!