How to Make Creamy Italian Polenta
It's easy to make creamy and lump free Italian polenta so long as you follow a few simple rules and step away from that boiling water. Eat it hot and soft right from the pot or chill it and give a fry. Either way it's great comfort food!
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
- 4 cups water, stock, or milk
- 1 cup medium to coarse ground yellow cornmeal
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese, optional
In a large saucepan, whisk together the cold liquid (water, milk, stock, or combo), the cornmeal, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat while whisking.
Reduce the heat to low. The polenta should have some steam coming up but not be bubbling. Stir the polenta every 5-10 minutes. Cook for 45-50 minutes. The polenta will be tender and thick when it's done. (If it gets too thick before it's tender, add a little more water or stock to the pan.)
Once your polenta is cooked through, stir in the butter and parmesan (if using).
- I like to use a mixture of half whole milk and half either water or chicken stock. However, you can use all water or all stock. Or, if you want a particularly creamy polenta, all milk.
- I use Bob's Red Mill corn grits/polenta mix. Though I list using any medium/coarse cornmeal, you will get better results using a grind which is labeled as being for polenta. DO NOT USE INSTANT POLENTA.
- This recipe will make a thick polenta good for topping with ragu or braised beef or for chilling and then frying up the next day. For a very soft thinner polenta, add one more cup of liquid towards the end of cooking. The soft polenta will still be quite soft after chilling and I don't find it good for frying.
- If your heat is too high, the polenta may burn on the bottom and it can also start 'spitting' from bubbling up (painful and messy!). Keep the heat nice and low and don't be in rush and your polenta will be creamy and soft.