Polenta is like the Italian version of mashed potatoes. It’s great by itself but it’s wonderful with a yummy ragu or the addition of cheese and herbs - like this Parmesan Polenta.
It’s a common dish in Northern Italy and I love that it’s so versatile… It can either be eaten freshly cooked, like a thick porridge, or it can be cooled and then sliced for frying, grilling, or baking.
My favorite way to eat Polenta is when it’s creamy, spreadable and the texture of soft-scrambled eggs. And of course with the addition of Parmesan cheese – I just love me some cheese!
You can find polenta in several forms… “instant” or “quick” polenta that’s made from incredibly fine ground pre-cooked corn meal, “precooked” polenta that is still moist – and ready to serve – it comes in the long tube-shaped packaging; and then there’s cornmeal or coarse-ground polenta meal that has never been cooked and requires a bit more attention - like an hour of attention.⏰ I usually go with the quick polenta. I’m sure the purists out there may frown upon this, but meals shouldn’t take 4 hours to prepare! If they did, I would never eat the food I make… I would be snacking on so much popcorn and trail mix by the time it was finished that I wouldn’t even be hungry!
As I was saying before I distracted myself: I like quick polenta because it’s... quick. Profound, right? As you can tell I’m very deep, many layers like an onion. You understand I’m sure. I would probably also enjoy the coarse-ground polenta but that could take up to an hour, and as I just mentioned, that’s not gonna happen. Well, maybe when I move to Italy and start harvesting olives, growing grapes and shepherding a flock of sheep. BAAAAH!!
Hopefully before I leave for my new life in Italy I can finish this blog post about POLENTA!!! OMG!
This Parmesan Polenta is a wonderful side dish to serve with so many things. For example: lamb chops with pesto, grilled honey-lemon chicken thighs, rib-eye steak, beef ragu and my personal favorite Veal or Beef Osso Buco. It’s like a cheesy sponge that soaks up all the yumminess that it comes in contact with. If you’re looking for a new creamy, cheesy side dish meet your new BFF - Parmesan Polenta!!
Cheesy salty polenta, perfect side for all the Italian classics!
- 1 cup Polenta
- 6 cups chicken stock or chicken broth, (can use water instead)
- ⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt to taste
- Start by bringing 3 cups of the broth or stock to a boil.
- Gradually pour in the polenta, whisking continuously
- The liquid will absorb very quickly. Add another cup of stock, then reduce heat to a low simmer
- Cook for about three minutes, continuing to add another 1 to 2 cups of liquid as it is absorbed.
- Add the grated Parmesan cheese and whisk thoroughly
- When desired firmness has been reached remove and serve immediately.
Check the "ingredients" when buying polenta... look for one that contains pre-cooked cornmeal for fastest cooking.
Polenta can be served runny or very firm, as desired. For a more firm polenta, just allow more liquid to cook off before serving.
Serving Size3-4 ounces
Amount Per Serving Calories 169Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 22mgSodium 918mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 0gSugar 4gProtein 10g
This nutrition card uses an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. This estimate is not a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice!
Thank you so much for the 5 stars John!
My regular grocer doesn't carry the instant type. They have the tubes of pre-cooked, but nothing else. I picked up corn meal, since that's basically what polenta is, but now have to figure out how much longer to cook and what else I need to do. Unfortunately, my husband likely won't even be willing to try it (although he likes cornbread). I'll have to make up some regular pasta on the side for him.
Hey Linda! I think it should work our fine, just cook it on a lower temperature for a longer amount of time. Polenta is very forgiving so you can't really go wrong. You may need to add a little more liquid as you go since it will cook longer. You're hubby is missing out! But I guess that just means more for you!! Good luck and let me know how it goes.
Super easy recipe!
What part of the store do you usually find the "quick" polenta? Near the grits/oatmeal? I can't seem to find it anywhere.
Hi Kristi! Oh my - that's not good. At our grocery store it's in two different places...the international isle with all the Italian goods, and then in the gluten-free area near the Bob's Red Mill dry goods. It could also be next to the pasta noodles or possibly the baking area. Last resort you could check with the store manager to be sure they carry it. Good luck!