Friday, February 18, 2011

Creamy Polenta

I am excited to have added another option to my repertoire of dinner ingredients--polenta!  Now, I've made it before, and it was a complete disaster.  I had read that the type of cornmeal that you use to make polenta makes the difference.  America's Test Kitchen recommends coarse ground cornmeal.  I have a friend who uses regular Quaker brand cornmeal with great results.  I opted to buy the more expensive kind, the Bob's Red Mill coarse ground cornmeal grits, otherwise known as polenta.  I could tell as I was stirring it in the pot that it was going to be perfect!  And it was!  (Now, what I did with it afterwards wasn't so perfect, but I think we will skip that story for now!).

There are so many ways that you can eat polenta--the choice is up to you whether you want it sweet or savory!  I personally, so far, like it savory.  My kids don't like it at all.  Too bad.  It's yummy.  And, just to be clear on who's in charge of the menu around kids will learn to like it.  :)  It is perfect underneath a simple marinara sauce or a heartier meat sauce (stay tuned for a delicious sauce coming up soon!).  And I don't think you are limited to Italian cuisine at all!  Make it Mexican!  Sprinkle cinnamon and brown sugar on it and call it breakfast!  Definitely call it gluten-free!

(I found my polenta at my little bulk food store in the quaint little Amish town next to me.  You can find it in the grocery in the baking aisle.  Typically, all the Bob's Red Mill branded products are together.)

Creamy Polenta
Source:  Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis

6 cups water
2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3 tbl. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

In a large, heavy saucepan, bring the water to a boil.  Add the salt, then gradually whisk in the cornmeal.  Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, about 5-15 minutes (go by how it feels to you.  If it starts to feel "glumpy" it is done.  You can add a bit of hot tap water to thin it out a bit.)  Remove from heat and stir in the butter.

Transfer the polenta to a bowl and serve.

Easy, huh?!

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