Saturday, October 16, 2010

Parmesan Polenta

One of my best friends is a brilliant law student out in California. She also happens to be a really good cook. I'm often amazed at how ambitious she is in the kitchen, cooking large amounts of gourmet food for big dinner parties. She even did an entire Thanksgiving feast last year for all her law school friends who weren't able to go to their respective homes for the holiday. This Sunday she is planning to have a Mad Men finale dinner party. The idea sounds wonderful and I don't even watch Mad Men. She asked me if I had any tips on cooking polenta, the side she wanted to make to compliment her braised beef. Fortunately polenta is very easy to make so my advice was pretty basic. I'm sure her entire meal will be delicious and the party tons of fun. Unfortunately she is on the opposite coast so I won't be able to make it to said party, but it did get me thinking about polenta and how delicious it is.
Made with ground corn, polenta is a whole grain that is good for you and also quick cooking. The cooking time really depends on how loose you want the polenta. I like a creamy, porridge consistency which only takes about 5 minutes once the stock comes to a boil. You can also cook it for longer, letting it set, to cut wedges out for a firmer polenta cake. It is a great side to compliment a full flavor main course, like braised beef, or works great under any type of sauce such as tomato, bolognese, or a ratatouille.  I went with just a simple side dish of polenta flavored with Parmesan cheese. Light, creamy and easy to make, polenta is definitely a useful side dish to add to your repertoire.

Parmesan Polenta (4 side-dish servings)
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan, plus additional for garnish
  • Salt and pepper
Bring stock to a boil in a medium saucepan.
Turn heat to low and slowly pour in polenta, stirring to incorporate.
Continue stirring as polenta thickens, cooking for about 5 minutes for creamy polenta, longer for a thicker consistency.
Stir frequently to avoid any lumps.
Remove from heat and stir in butter and Parmesan cheese.
Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. It might not need any salt depending on saltiness of stock and Parmesan, so taste first. Definitely add about 1/8-1/4 tsp black pepper.
Serve garnished with additional Parmesan, if desired.

For a printable recipe click here

Easy Parmesan Polenta

No comments:

Post a Comment