This is the most basic of polenta recipes - I make it like this every time. Making your polenta from scratch lets you control the flavor and salt content, and it always comes out much nicer than ready made polenta in a tube. ;)
Polenta is a great substitute for pasta, and you can do so much more with it. I absolutely love to fry it and I recently made a lasagna from it, too.
Step 1: What You'll Need:
- 1 cup cornmeal or corn grits
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of butter/margarine
- pepper to taste
- parmesan/romano/asiago - optional but tasty!
You'll also need a large sauce pan and a nice sturdy spoon.
Step 2: Boiling + Adding
Bring the water to a boil and add the corn grits and salt. Stir this well!
Step 3: The Slow Part
Polenta does take a while to cook. Once it's in the boiling water, turn the heat down to low.
Simmer this slowly, stirring frequently. When I say frequently, I mean it! Every 2-3 minutes is perfect. The corn grits suck up all the water pretty quick, but it still needs to cook for a while after so it can get stuck to the bottom of the pan really easily.
Within 20-25 minutes, it will be ready!
You'll know it's good and ready when dragging a spoon through it causes a channel that doesn't fill back up. Your spoon will also be able to stand up in it. :D
Step 4: Finishing
Once it's nice and thick, turn off the heat. Add in a couple tablespoons of butter and some pepper. You can also add some hard cheese at this point!
Stir this in so the butter is distributed throughout. :)
At this point you can serve it as-is with sauce on top or pour it into a bowl that's been greased and let it cool for a few minutes and cut it into slices and then serve!
You can also pour it into a rectangular or square container and let it chill in the fridge for nice slices for lasagna or frying. It's all up to you. :D