Polenta is one of those fancy sounding foods that actually is so simple to make and more importantly, SO delicious. It’s also really versatile. You can serve it soft (just like grits) or you can cook it a little longer and slice it up and fry it or bake it…There are so many ways to enjoy this goodness.
Although I love it on it’s own, my favorite way to eat polenta (which by the way is traditionally an Italian dish), is with a sauce.
A good way to think of it is that if it tastes great with pasta, it’s going to taste great spooned over polenta also. So, let the experimenting begin! You’re about to have a new go-to option to pair with your favorite sauces with veggies or a protein like chicken or fish.
What is the Difference Between Polenta and Grits?
Polenta, which is very similar to grits (yum), is made from ground yellow corn rather than ground hominy. The texture is a little different as yellow corn grits/cornmeal have a bit more texture when prepared, and white corn grits have a finer texture and are smoother.
I love them both, but this simple and cheesy polenta recipe has so much flavor and a consistency is perfect!
How to Make Polenta:
For this recipe, I followed the instructions on my bag of polenta/yellow corn grits (from Bob’s Red Mill)…and then added additional parmesan cheese, butter, etc. The general rule that I go by with polenta is 3 parts water to one part polenta/corn grits. Some recipes call for a little more water but this works well for me.
First, bring water (with salt added) to a boil over high heat in a deep pan.
Add in the corn grits/polenta and reduce heat. Stir often until it becomes very, very thick. (This is my favorite way to make polenta– it will allow you to cut it into slices later after it sets up.) –If you want the polenta to be more of a “grits” consistency, you can stop cooking about 5 minutes or so, when it’s reached the thickness that you like.
Stir in butter and grated Parmasean cheese. Then spoon into an oiled pie dish or bowl. I just left mine in the dish until it cooled and set up enough that I could easily slice it. If you’re feeling really fancy though, you can flip the bowl upside down onto a dish and lift to reveal a perfectly shaped mound of polenta (:
I hope that you will give this polenta recipe a try. I love it just as it is–simple and oh so good! You can experiment also with adding a little heavy cream or chicken stock instead of water… or add-ins like sautéed garlic and more.
We love it with our Chicken with Parmesan Mushroom Cream Sauce recipe!
Make sure to check out my full collection of favorite recipes in my Recipes Section! Thanks for stopping by, and if you give this recipe a try, I’d love to hear what you think! Also, to stay updated on my recipes, don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter of to follow along on Pinterest and Instagram!
- 6 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to your liking)
- 2 cups corn polenta
- 3-4 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup grated Parmasean cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper (adjust to your liking)
- Top off your polenta with your favorite sauces, roasted vegetables, or protein
- In a deep pan, bring water with salt added to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce to a simmer and stir frequently to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of your pan. Stir until very thick (about 30 minutes). Watch out- as it gets hot and thick, it may splatter! **If you want a softer consistency of polenta rather than sliced, you can cook for less time--5-10 minutes or until desired consistency.
- Remove from heat and stir in butter and Parmasean cheese. Spoon into oiled dish or bowl- I like to use a 10 inch pie dish. Once it cools and sets, you can leave it in the dish, or you can flip it out onto a serving plate and unmold it.
- Slice and serve with your sauce/veggies/protein of choice!
- serves 6-8