How to Make Cornmeal Polenta

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Polenta is a traditional Italian dish similar to porridge, and was originally made with maize meal. The name comes from the Latin word for "pearl barley." In modern times, polenta is often made with cornmeal, and is later fried, baked or grilled. This recipe yields approximately four servings of cornmeal polenta.

How to Make Cornmeal Polenta
(Anne Foster Coleman/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • ½ cup whole milk
  • Kosher salt
  • Medium saucepan
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • Wire whisk
  • ½ tsp. each dried sage and rosemary
  • ½ tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup corn kernels
Step 1

Add two cups of water, ½ cup of milk and a dash of salt to a medium-sized saucepan. Stir to combine and warm the ingredients over medium-high heat.

Anne Foster Coleman/Demand Media
Step 2

Add the cornmeal to the pan just before it reaches a boil. Whisk continually with a wire whisk as you pour the cornmeal to prevent lumps from forming.

Anne Foster Coleman/Demand Media
Step 3

Whisk the dried sage leaves and fresh rosemary into the cornmeal polenta. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking often, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until thick. The ideal consistency is similar to that of sour cream.

Anne Foster Coleman/Demand Media
Step 4

Add the garlic, butter and Parmesan cheese to the polenta. Stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and cheese have melted completely, and then add a dash of black pepper to taste.

Anne Foster Coleman/Demand Media
Step 5

Stir the fresh corn kernels into the polenta just before serving. It can be eaten hot or be left to cool, sliced and then fried or grilled or used in various recipes.

Anne Foster Coleman/Demand Media

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Tips & Warnings

  • If the polenta becomes too thick while simmering, stir in additional water until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Almond, rice, oat or hazelnut milk can be used in place of dairy milk if desired or necessary. To make the meal vegan, use 1 tbsp. of olive oil instead of butter and omit the cheese.

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