Polenta is a delicious, easy-to-prepare corn dish, similar to grits. I love it for its quick prep time and creamy goodness. Try this quick and cheesy polenta recipe for a great dinner.
I first heard about polenta in the 90s when I worked at a fancy-schmancy restaurant in Santa Barbara. There they served it sliced and grilled. I tried it, and didn’t care for it.
But, I really wanted to like it.
After giving it the good old college try a few years ago, I’m a fan. In a big way. Here’s why:
Polenta: Why I Love It
Polenta is super versatile.
According to the New Food Lover’s Companion,
A staple of northern Italy, polenta is a mush made from cornmeal. It can be eaten hot with a little butter or cooled until firm, cut into squares and fried. Polenta is sometimes mixed with cheese such as Parmesan or Gorgonzola. It can be served as a first course or side dish and makes hearty breakfast fare.
I agree on all points. I’ve served it as a gluten-free alternative to pasta, piling it high with meatballs, meat sauce, or other Italian-style meats. I’ve enjoyed it as a side dish to sausage and greens. I’ve made polenta “pizzas”, by slicing the chilled leftover polenta — it firms up when cool — and topping it with sauce and cheese. I’ve reheated leftovers and topped it with a fried egg. Super good!
Polenta is quick and easy to make.
Polenta cooks up in less than half an hour, making it a quick fix base to many a meal. Just another delicious, quick dinner idea!
I vary the seasonings and the liquids I use to prepare it, based on what I have on hand. The recipe below is one of my favorites!
Polenta is gluten-free.
Polenta is made of corn which is naturally gluten-free. However, keep in mind that corn is a grain that often becomes cross-contaminated with wheat and other gluten-containing grains. Be sure to buy gluten-free polenta to ensure yours is without gluten.
Quick and Cheesy Polenta
- 3 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup polenta
- 1/4 cup butter cut into cubes
- 3 oz Parmesan cheese (shredded) (3/4 cup) can also use Asiago or Romano
- black pepper
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the broth, milk, and salt. Bring to a low boil.
- Stir in the polenta and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook, stirring, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the mixture is thick and creamy. Add more water if necessary to prevent sticking.
- Stir in the butter and add the cheese in small amounts, stirring to incorporate well. Season to taste with pepper and serve.
Be sure to check out all the posts in the series: Quick Dinner Ideas.