Friday, September 7, 2012
Recently, we've discovered David Rocco's Dolce Vita. It's a great show on the Cooking Channel. We always thought polenta was some difficult side to make and you were better off buying the pre-made polenta and just slicing it to use when you needed. Boy, were we wrong. Polenta is actually pretty simple, just a little tiring. You have to stir the entire time. Slight forearm discomfort is worth it for this yummy dish.
Here's what you need:
4 1/4 cups of lukewarm water
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 lb yellow corn meal
Here's what you do:
The first and most important step is to start with lukewarm water - not hot, not cold. Cold water will make your polenta lumpy. We don't really know why you shouldn't use hot water, but David Rocco said use lukewarm, so we did, and the polenta turned out amazing.
Add the salt to the water. Pour in a high-walled skillet or low-walled dutch oven. Your pot needs walls, but you don't want them too high because you're going to be stirring a lot.
Turn the heat on medium and add the corn meal. Start stirring in a clockwise direction.
Continue stirring, always in a clockwise direction. Apparently if you don't stir in the same direction, Italian women all over the world will roll over in their graves and your polenta won't turn out properly. We didn't want to risk that, so we stirred in one direction the entire time.
Eventually, your polenta will thicken and look like this:
At this point, there were a few bubbles coming through and the polenta was the consistency of porridge. The entire process takes 20-30 minutes.
You can serve your polenta two ways - warm, with a bit of olive oil and grated Parmesan, or cooled. We did both, but forgot to snap a picture of the cooled polenta.
To cool it, spread the polenta in a baking dish (we used a 9 x 13 Pyrex) and let cool on the counter. Slice into squares and serve.