Finally, after getting tired of hearing polenta this and polenta that on cooking programs I decided to give it a shot. I watched American’s Test Kitchen on PBS and they made it and it just looked scrumptious. Hearty and satisfying. I have used their recipe almost exactly here with the exception of the chicken broth and the amount of butter. I have heard that using chicken broth instead of water enhances the flavor. I do something similar when I make brown rice.
However, due to using broth, salt becomes an issue. Between the broth and cheese, this dish has adequate salt. Omitting it has no adverse effects on this dish. I added a pinch this time and it was too salty for my palate, but not for others. It’s a matter of taste. The thick/thinness of this dish is completely dependent on this amount of liquid used. Use less if you want a thicker/heartier polenta and more if you want a thinner/soupier consistency.In the past I have always used coarse-ground polenta purchased at an Italian deli. I only had cornmeal on hand. I decided to just give it a shot using basic, everyday, on-the-baking-aisle cornmeal. The flavor was spot-on. The only difference is the grains were smaller, but the taste and consistency was perfect. So if you like a larger grain in each bite, go with the coarse ground. At the end of the day, I prefer the coarse-grain, but happy to know that in a pinch, I can make great polenta with every day cornmeal.This dish is EASILY made vegetarian by NOT using the chicken broth.
- 2 cans LOW SODIUM chicken broth
- 2 cans of water , plus a bit (or omit broth and use 7 1/2 cups of water)
- Pinch of salt , but can be omitted
- Pinch of baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups coarse ground cornmeal (polenta/grits)
- 3 tbsp UNSALTED butter
- 4 oz . Parmesan cheese , grated (about 2 cups)
- Black pepper; to taste
In a large sauce pan, bring broth and water to boil over medium-high heat.
Stir in salt (if using) and baking soda.
Slowly pour polenta into water in steady stream, while stirring.
Bring mixture to boil, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
Reduce heat to low and cover.
After 5 minutes, quickly and briefly whisk polenta, smoothing out any lumps.
Take care to mix thoroughly, the sides and bottom included.
Cover and cook, without stirring, about 25 minutes longer.
Remove from heat, stir in butter and Parmesan, and season to taste with black pepper.
Let stand, covered, 5 minutes.
Parmesan Polenta was a recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen