I guess I grew up on polenta. My family is from a little mountain town called Posina, in the heart of Veneto, Italy, and here polenta is even eaten for breakfast, served in a bowl of hot milk. It might sound a little weird, but it's hands-down better than cornflakes for breakfast. Try it, and then tell me you don't agree!
Okay, so what exactly is polenta?
Polenta is a traditional Italian dish made from ground maize, specifically cornmeal. Once cooked, it can be creamy, soft, or firm, depending on your preferences. Think of it as Italy's answer to mashed potatoes, but with a unique, earthy flavor and a bit more versatility.
Serve hot as an appetizer or as a side to a roast.
What makes polenta truly wonderful is its versatility. It's a blank canvas that pairs beautifully with an array of flavors. You can serve it as a creamy bed for saucy stews, grill it for a crispy exterior, or chill it and slice it into delicious cakes that you can fry or bake. The possibilities are endless.
One of my favorites is to serve the hot polenta with melted Gorgonzola cheese.
Like I mentioned at the top of the page, you can let the polenta cool and cut it into slices. You can then serve the slices with hot milk for breakfast.
When I was a child, I used to have this every morning—this was my version of morning cornflakes. I loved it, and to be honest, I still do.
I hope you enjoy your polenta.
Is Polenta gluten-free?
Yes, polenta is naturally gluten-free because it's made from corn, not wheat. This makes it an excellent option for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
What's the Best Cornmeal for Polenta?
Traditionally, coarsely ground, yellow cornmeal is the choice for authentic polenta. However, you can experiment with different textures and colors of cornmeal to suit your preferences and the dishes you're planning.
How Do I Reheat Polenta?
Polenta tends to firm up when it cools, but reheating it is easy. You can slice and grill it, reheat it in the microwave, or return it to a pot with some additional liquid and stir until it regains its creamy texture.
Can you freeze polenta?
Absolutely! You can prepare a batch of polenta, let it cool, cut it into portions, and freeze them. It's a convenient way to have polenta on hand for quick and satisfying meals.