Creamy polenta is a gift from the gods. It’s one of the easiest foods to make. You only have to pay attention while you are cooking. Cornmeal, water, and salt — that’s all you need. Of course, you can add Parmesan, Pecorino, Taleggio cheese, or even cheddar and bacon. You can stir in butter or olive oil a moment after the polenta has finished cooking to make it creamier. You can add lots of fresh herbs or sun-dried tomatoes. That’s up to you.
But the most important part is to get the polenta right.
I started cooking polenta in 1991, at Cafe Sport in Bellevue, WA. We made creamy polenta for our roasted chicken dish and grilled polenta for our lamb chops. I’ve been cooking polenta ever since, at many restaurants where I worked.
People think polenta is hard, since it can burn easily if you don’t watch. You have to cook it the right amount of time. Reheating it can be a bit of a pain. But once you have the right ratio and the patience, you can practice and this will become one of your staples.
This week, we made a lot of polenta, to test my premises of the best way to make it. The results are in the recipe.