Cheesy Soft Polenta
First off, I must say I am honored to be featured on Tasty Kitchen’s site starting today under the TK Blog. If you haven’t visited Tasty Kitchen, you haven’t lived. It is a site created by Ree of The Pioneer Woman where food bloggers and home cooks can upload recipes and oh my, are there fantastic recipes over there! Check it out!
Now, onto the Polenta!
Polenta sounds so fancy, so exotic, so Italian, and for ordinary people, so…unreachable.
But this week, I bought some, made it and discovered that’s so …NOT TRUE!
If you’re from the south, you know grits. Grits and polenta are both very similar products. Both are ground cornmeal, but they differ slightly. Grits are always made of white cornmeal, and are chemically treated before grinding. Polenta can be made of white or yellow cornmeal. The type I used was yellow. The bag even described it as polenta or grits.
I used the quick-cooking version. True polenta lovers will tell you that you have to use the slow cooking variety that you have to stir for an hour, but I thought this was just wonderful.
You basically want to use 3 parts liquid to 1 part polenta to make the ooey gooey type that you use as a base for some kind of yummy sauce or meat.
I’ll show you tomorrow what I topped mine with also. It was good.
Hint** It involves the words “mushroom” and “ragout”.
I started mine with one and one-half cups of milk. Dump this into a medium-size saucepan.
Also add in one and one-half cups of chicken broth.
And, please pardon me, but two tablespoons of butter.
Important! You don’ t want to boil this (because of the milk), but bring it up to a simmer and wait for the butter to melt, then give it a stir.
Oops, I almost forgot, but at this point, I added one teaspoon of salt, and don’t skimp here! The cornmeal needs it for flavor!
Now slowly pour in your polenta. I used one cup. And get your whisk ready cuz you’ll have to whisk away on this stuff pretty steadily.
Keeping your heat on medium, whisk the polenta into the liquid, so as not to get clumps. At first you’ll think it’s pretty thin, but then this will happen.
And when that happens? Add the cheese. I used parmesan, but you could use any cheese that makes you smile. I used one-half cup of parmesan and dumped it right in.
I’ve seen cream cheese used frequently as well as goat cheese, asiago and gruyere. Parmesan was delicious and I can’t wait to experiment with the others!
Whisk your cheese into your polenta for about a minute. And then….
Spoon your polenta onto a plate. I could eat it just like this! It was so yummy!
Ideas for topping this?
I topped mine with Bacon Mushroom Ragout. The possibilities are endless. Favorites are Osso Buco, shortribs, meatballs and other saucy meat dishes, but I have seen it served at restaurants with fish or steak on it as well. Use your imagination and try whatever you love over polenta. I think it would be amazing with some pesto swirled into it and topped with some kind of meat or shrimp.
So don’t be afraid of a fancy name like Polenta. It’s a snap to make!
- 1½ c. milk
- 1½ c. chicken broth
- 2 T. butter
- 1 t. salt
- 1 c. quick polenta
- ½ c. parmesan cheese
- Pour milk and broth into medium saucepan and add butter.
- Over medium heat, bring to a simmer then add polenta.
- Stir with whisk about 3 minutes or until polenta thickens up.
- Add cheese and whisk another minute.
- Spoon onto plates for serving.