Ciao, welcome back to my blog!
Today I am going to share with you how to make polenta with cheese, which is by far one of my favourite rustic recipes for the winter.
For those who are not familiar with this amazing must-have ingredient for winter:
Is polenta healthy? Yes!
Is polenta a carb? Yes, because it is made from corn.
Is polenta good for you? Absolutely!
Is polenta vegan? Yep!
Is polenta gulten-free? Yes!
Bear with me: I am sharing with you why you should definitely include polenta in your cupboard.
What is polenta made of?
"An Italian store-cupboard staple, polenta has its roots in the peasant cuisine of northern Italy.
It’s made by grinding corn into flour, or meal. It has a rich yellow, yolk-like colour, and has a slightly sweet flavour.
Polenta can be cooked to be creamy and thick, or allowed to set and then sliced. Serve it instead of pasta, rice or potatoes. Use in place of breadcrumbs to coat chicken or fish when frying.
Uncooked polenta makes a delicious addition or gluten-free alternative to flour in cakes, biscuits and pastries. Cakes made with polenta tend to be moist and dense with a pleasantly grainy texture" source: BBC Goodfood glossary.
Polenta is an inexpensive and healthy substitute for pasta and bread:
"Polenta is an Italian porridge-like dish that’s made by cooking cornmeal in water and salt. It’s high in carbs but has a moderate number of calories. To get more fibre and nutrients, make it with whole grain instead of degerminated cornmeal." states Anne Danahy in her article for Healthline.
Admittedly, the combination of polenta with cheese is not a low-calorie meal, but it is winter and we have been living in sweats for months so...who cares!
Polenta with melted cheese is a warm and super filling dish, perfect for the coldest days. It is suitable for vegetarians as it only requires dairy.
Honestly, if you like cheese, you can't skip this hearty recipe!
The best part is that you can get creative and play with your favourite types of cheese as it will be delicious whatever combo you choose.
I used what I had left in the fridge but the possibilities are almost endless:
you could opt for Italian cheeses with a mix of pecorino and Gorgonzola for a strong kick, or decide for a more sophisticated French combo using Brie and Camembert, a blend of different types of Cheddars or even a simple Parmesan polenta.
Whatever floats your boat!
A great cheeses combo for those who are concerned about calories is mixing some greek yoghurt with ricotta and half mozzarella.
Now, there are several kinds of polenta to choose from out there, but let me tell you, there are not all the same.
It is also easy to mistake polenta flour for cornmeal: it is not the same thing!
The fine polenta is usually easier to cook because it is instant but it is not going to be as nice and tasteful as the coarse polenta which, on the other hand, takes a long time to cook (around 40 minutes).
I only could find the thin version in my local stores but I will order online the coarse one later on and try it as well.
In case you are wondering where to buy polenta in London: Turkish corner stores, in the Italian section at the supermarket or next to the flour shelves.
No worries if making polenta looks like a scary thing to do, I promise it is super easy as well as being budget-friendly and it only takes 10 minutes to make excellent polenta dishes.
Ingredients for 2:
250g of instant polenta
a generous spoon of Philadelphia
Grated mature Cheddar
Extra virgin olive oil (or butter)
Prepare the cheese: grate the Cheddar, cut the mozzarella into small cubes and crumble the feta.
How to cook polenta: the polenta water ratio is actually up to your taste but I usually follow this proportion:
Bring to boil 500ml of water in a capacious pot and then add a teaspoon of salt.
Add little by little the polenta to the boiling water and use a whisk to avoid lumps.
The consistency is up to you really, some people prefer a creamy polenta (in that case add some more water or diminish the polenta quantity) while I like it rather thick.
Stir well for 2-3 minutes with a wooden spoon and add a bit of olive oil or butter.
Then the polenta is ready to be served!
Place a generous amount of the cooked polenta in the bowl. Top it with the cheeses and then put another copious spoon of polenta on it.
If you like you can also drizzle some more olive oil on it and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper which will enhance the taste of the dish.
Let it rest for 10 minutes so that the cheese will melt lusciously inside the two layers of polenta.
The cheesy polenta bowl is ready, enjoy the strings!
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Have a great weekend!
Recipes with polenta: