After tweeting this evening that I was supermarket hopping to find polenta, (having decided it was definitely polenta weather in Sydney this evening), my friend @shewgirl asked me how I cook it. I found I couldn’t do that in 140 character bites and I couldn’t find a recipe that exactly matched the way I do it, so here’s a quick run down on how I cook polenta.
I usually cook it to have as an alternative to mashed potato, so use a ratio of about 4 parts water to 1 part polenta.
Boil the water – if I have chicken stock in the freezer I’ll use that to substitute for all or some of the water, or may just add a stock cube. Really dark stock can have an effect on the colour of the polenta (a bit like risotto) but it will still taste great.
Once the liquid is boiling, add the polenta in a constant stream, stirring it in – this is worth taking the time to do as it does help avoid lumps 🙂
I stir until it boils, then turn the heat down and let it simmer for at least 10-15 minutes, longer is also fine. I then only stir it from time to time during that cooking time. It thickens quite quickly and even on a low heat boils in big ‘blobs’ that hurt if they get you so I use a spatter guard over the top of the saucepan.
When I’m ready to serve, I stir through a knob of butter and a handful of parmesan cheese. I don’t personally think there can be too much cheese but not everyone agrees with me on that! Put it this way, I guess you can always add more but it’s hard to take it out if it’s too cheesy.
We eat it like mash, then before the leftovers cool too much I put them in a flat plastic container and spread it out to set. This gives me polenta to slice and take to work to eat with any leftover dinner or maybe just some pasta sauce!