Monday, June 22, 2009

Creamy, Cheesy Polenta

Oh yum. I know it's not for everyone (especially my friend who can't stand creamy things), but I love polenta. It's a savory version of cream of wheat, basically, and I love cream of wheat. Polenta, like risotto, has an undeserved reputation for being both time-consuming and labor-intensive, but that's not entirely accurate. Besides, there are decent instant polentas and pre-made polenta loaves that are simple to doctor up. The Bob's Red Mill Polenta that I buy actually says Corn Grits in big letters on the bag as well. Who knew?
This recipe is pretty much straight from The New Best Recipe. I love this cookbook.

Creamy, Cheesy Polenta

1 cup polenta (medium grind cornmeal or Grits)
4 cups water
2 T butter
handful Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper

  • Bring the water to a boil in a medium, heavy-duty sauce pan or pot. Add a pinch of salt and then slowly add the polenta to the water while really stirring.
  • Reduce the heat to really low and cover. Stir this for about 10 seconds every 5 minutes (that's the Best Recipe anal-ness coming through) being sure to scrape the edges and sides well.
  • After about 20 minutes it should be soft and smooth (some recipes say 30 minutes, but I've never had it take that long). Stir in the butter, Parmesan, and pepper.
  • Serve immediately because it can get hard. If that happens, add a little boiling water and stir over low heat until smooth again. This won't work multiple times, so if you know you need to make the polenta in advance, just cook it halfway and finish when you're just about ready to eat.

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