C. from New Orleans asks:

‘Hey Kurma, I like your cool site. My girlfriend bought some polenta home. Any recipes you could share for it?

My reply: Hi C! Yes, here’s a nice one – real comfort food.

polenta grain:

Fresh Polenta with Melted Butter and Parmesan Cheese (Polenta Fresca al Burro e Parmigiano)

Polenta, yellow cornmeal, is northern Italy’s staple food. This hearty, ultra-simple dish is Italy’s answer to mashed potatoes. Although polenta is easy to prepare, it is essential that you put aside 30–40 minutes of your time to stir the polenta to avoid sticking as it slowly cooks. Serve polenta fresca as a side dish or entree.

4 cups (1 litre) water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup polenta
3 tablespoons butter
Freshly-ground black pepper
3 tablespoons freshly-shaved grana padano cheese or more if desired
2 teaspoons fresh lemon thyme leaves, oregano leaves, or a few small rosemary sprigs

Combine the water and salt in your most heavy 2-litre saucepan, preferably non-stick, over high heat, and bring to the boil.

Warm the fresh herbs in a little olive oil over very low heat, until aromatic. Remove from the heat

Pour the polenta in a slow and steady stream, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or better still a wire whisk. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, scraping any grains down from the sides of the pan. Be careful because it may “spit”.

Stir, almost constantly, for 30–40 minutes, or until the graininess of the polenta has all but disappeared.

Fold in the herbs and oil mixture.

Divide the polenta between 4 or 6 bowls, and serve hot, topped with knobs of butter, freshly ground black pepper and generous shavings of Grana Padano cheese.
Posted by Kurma on 29/9/06; 4:50:04 AM

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