How to Make Polenta

Few dishes in the world span the entire surface area of Earth, especially those only about 400 years old. Yet, polenta seems to have conquered that feat and more. A dish resembling a polenta can be found on all 6 habitable continents: North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. Known by many names like coo-coo, sadza, fufu, keechla and kachamak, this delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner meal can be complimented by nearly anything. Originally a poor man’s dish more commonly known as gruel, polenta’s creamy texture and adaptable flavor can now be found on the menu some of the world’s finest restaurants.

In today’s online cooking class, we learn to cook a corn-based Italian grilled polenta complete with loads of rich butter and creamy Parmesan. Pair with asparagus, steak and a light side salad and you have one kickin’ summer dinner that could make anyone swoon.

Start off by bringing the liquid butter and salt to a boil. Stirring constantly, slowly whisk in the corn meal to avoid lumps. Once all mixed in, lower the heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste. When polenta is done, spoon it into a buttered parchment lined half sheet pan. Use the back end of wet spatula to make sure polenta is evenly spread in pan. Refrigerate until well chilled. Once thoroughly chilled, unmold the polenta and cut it into the shapes of your desire. You can either sauté or grill the polenta, depending on preference. Top with grated Parmesan and you’re ready to dive into one of the greatest gifts to world cuisine.


8 oz grated Parmesan
8 oz whole butter
1 qt milk, white stock or water
8 oz white or yellow cornmeal
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring liquid, butter and a pinch of salt to a boil.

2. Slowly add the cornmeal while whisking constantly to prevent lumps, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Scrape the polenta into a buttered parchment lined half sheet pan to an even thickness with a spatula that has been dipped in water. Refrigerate the polenta until well chilled.

4. To serve, unmold the polenta and cut into shapes. Sauté or grill the polenta for service. Garnish with Parmesan.


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