The term "polenta" has become somewhat confusing in recent years. Although it refers to a finished product, the word is sometimes used to identify the coarse cornmeal from which the dish is often made. You can use semolina flour to make the finished dish, but it will have a slightly different taste and texture than polenta made with the more traditional cornmeal.
If you are going by the traditional definition of polenta, then yes, you can make polenta with semolina flour. Polenta is defined as a simple dish made from cooked grain. Served fresh, the consistency is usually soft and creamy. Polenta can also be refrigerated to harden it. Once it becomes stiff, it can be cut into slices and fried or grilled. Semolina flour is a flour made from hard durum wheat. It is high in gluten and comes in fine or coarse grinds. Semolina flour is most often used in pizza doughs and breads, where it imparts a chewy or crisp texture, but it can also be used in polenta.
Semolina flour and buckwheat are often used in Italy to make polenta. In the U.S., though, polenta is almost always made from cornmeal. Most people prefer a coarsely ground cornmeal for polenta, which has a sweet, nutty flavor, but any type of cornmeal will work. If you use semolina flour in your polenta, it will have a wheat taste, rather than a cornmeal taste. If your palate's accustomed to cornmeal polenta, you might prefer its taste to that of semolina polenta.
Whether you're using cornmeal or semolina flour to make polenta, the process is essentially the same. Start with 1 part grain to 4 or 5 parts water. Bring the water to a simmer and add the grain slowly. Simmer over low heat until thick and creamy, stirring occasionally. Making polenta is very similar to making oatmeal, a seven-grain cereal or even rice. It's hard to mess it up. If it's too thick for your preference, add a bit more water. If it's too thin, continue cooking or stir in a bit more grain.
Polenta is most commonly served with meat and saucy dishes as a substitute for rice, noodles or potatoes. Top semolina or cornmeal polenta with marinara sauce and cheese or stir sauteed mushrooms, spinach and onions into it. You can even use semolina polenta as a breakfast cereal, as you would oatmeal. Top it with brown sugar, honey, raisins, milk or a little bit of cream. Leftover polenta can be refrigerated and reheated. Add a little liquid if you want a creamy, reheated polenta.
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