It’s winter, and a lot of recipes for root vegetables and stews are popping up, but it’s gross outside. The thought of a taste of summer was enticing, but an even better idea was a taste of another country!
I love polenta with a capital L. To be honest, I’ve heard the name often, had a hard time finding it in cookbooks (ridiculous!) and stores, haven’t seen it on menus anywhere and thanks to the invention of Wikipedia, I started playing around and making it myself. How bloody elusive it was, like some type of magical foodstuff unicorn. It’s actually a good thing that it was and I was forced to innovate, because the store-bought stuff in a tube has a bad reputation. Years later now, the recipes that I’ve actually found are usually plain and boring. Salt, water, cornmeal. Yawn!
This is really a basic formula that you can tinker with, but my finished product pretty much sang “I LOVE ITALY!” in falsetto (and in Italian). There’s a lot of stirring and watching and adding to be done, much like a risotto, but it’s so easy and the taste is worth it. Whether you try this served fresh and creamy, or sliced into wedges and fried after it sets, there isn’t a bad time for this stuff. Time for a little zazz!
Polenta con Amore
serves 8 to 10 as a side dish
2 cups of cornmeal
8 cups of sodium-reduced stock (chicken or veggie) OR
8 cups of water and broth powder (follow the instructions) if you’re in a pinch
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano or other hard Italian cheese
1 tbsp lemon zest and a tiny squeeze of lemon juice
Several chunks of sun dried tomatoes and 2 tbsp oil from the jar
1 head of roasted garlic (this is a moderate amount. I used more, as always)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or oil left over from roasting the garlic
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
1 tbsp butter
I’m completely satisfied with how this turned out and don’t have any notes or revisions. You know what they say about practice…