In Italy polenta is traditionally made with specially ground cornmeal, water and salt – and as my teacher Giuliano Bugialli would say,’ That is all!” He would mix equal parts of fine cornmeal and course cornmeal to create something similar to what he was brought up eating. I have also taken classes with Michael Romano and at Union Square Cafe he uses both heavy cream and gorgonzola cheese. My friend Tommy would add beans to his polenta but that’s optional – his mother passed this down from his grandmother – who also grew up in northern Italy. So feel free to experiment with your own favorite additions. But this exceptional Rosemary Polenta is our favorite on a winter night.
1 cup Polenta (mix 1/2 cup of fine cornmeal & 1/2 cup course corn meal for a pretty authentic blend)
I t Sea Salt
5 cups of Water
1 cup of Milk
1 T Fresh Chopped Rosemary
1 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
Pinch of Nutmeg (optional)
White Pepper to Taste
1. Add 3 cups of water and 1 cup of milk to a pot and stream in 1 cup of polenta. Bring to a slow boil. By adding the polenta to colder liquid you will reduce the risk of lumps. Stir.
2. Add salt, rosemary, nutmeg (optional) & white pepper. Stir.
3. Keep stirring. As the polenta thickens add more water as needed. I find you can easily add an addition 8 to as much as 16 oz of water. The importance here is that your polenta is creamy not grainy. This process can take 10 to 15 minutes. You will know the polenta is done when the side of the pot bubbles sending “kisses”to you.
4. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese.
5. Taste for seasoning.
6. Leftover polenta can be spooned onto a piece of plastic wrap, parchment or wax paper and form into a log. Wrap securely in foil and refrigerate for unto 5 days.
7.Slice and fry for breakfast or a dinner alongside grilled sausage.