Thursday, October 25, 2012

Polenta (Northern Italian Style)

I am a food collector.  I like buying food and don't necessarily have any intention to cook it or eat it, I just like having it in the pantry.  Sometimes I fight this by picking an ingredient that has been ignored and finding a dish that I can use it in.  Today's winner: coarse corn meal from Bob's Red Mill!  After reading about things to do with corn meal, I decided on Polenta.  I have had it fried in little sticks at restaurants but it's a lot more like oatmeal or malt-o-meal if you don't fry it.  Also, super easy!

I served it sprinkled with Parmesan and paired with a basil tilapia (thanks Costco) and Moscato wine (the Barefoot winery has a great one) to round out the Italian theme.  Getting the consistency I wanted meant undercooking it a little, so it was perfect for spooning out of the pot rather than something slice-able.  Why?  Well, it tasted good and I was hungry so that usually means declaring it dinner time.

Later note: This made great leftovers!  Not everything tastes good reheated but this one does so make extra.

Northern Italian Style Polenta

5 1/2 cups water
dash of salt
1 3/4 - 2 cups coarse yellow corn meal

Pour water into large heavy pot, add salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so water is just simmering. Pour the corn meal slowly in a steady slow stream, while churning the corn meal and water with the whisk to minimize lumping of corn meal. Stir with whisk a few times, then cover and cook at low temperature. Stir mixture thoroughly every few minutes for about 30 to 45 minutes or until mixture stiffens and pulls away from the sides of the pan. The polenta is ready.

Slowly invert the polenta on to a wooden or plastic serving board or large dish, shaping to resemble a cake. Using a double strand of white sewing thread begin slicing polenta into "bread slices" by cutting from one side and then from the other side. To keep polenta warm, cover with a clean, white dish towel. Serve.

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