My favorite polenta recipe so far! This delish soft polenta is great because you can make it ahead of time for a dinner party, even chill it the day before or keep it warm and finish it in the oven just before serving. The recipe is originally from Cooks Illustrated which is an online source you need to pay for to subscribe. Cooks Illustrated is always the best source of thoroughly tested and researched recipes.
Bring to a boil in a heavy bottom large pot:
7 1/2 cups water
2 cups whole milk (organic milk has a real milk flavor and is rich in Omega – 3 fatty acids)
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
Place a ring of aluminum foil on the burner, underneath the pot to limit the amount of heat transfer. The goal is for the polenta to steam and not simmer.
Slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time, add and whisk in:
1 and 1/2 cups medium grind cornmeal (Bob’s Red Mill Organic Medium Grind is perfect unless you have a source of freshly ground)
Most recipes mix with a wooden spoon. I prefer the metal whisk to prevent lumping.
Bring it to a slight boil and then manage the heat with a low temp or use of the aluminum ring. Do not allow polenta to simmer. You should only see steam rise and not a true boil either. If your polenta simmers or boils at your lowest temperature setting, add the aluminum ring for your cooking pot to buffer the heat.
Stir often with the whisk and steam at least 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the grind of the cornmeal. Taste should be very loose and creamy, not gritty. Remove from heat.
Add 1/2 stick unsalted butter and stir till melted. Organic butter does taste much better!
Also mix in:
1 large clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Pour into a 9 x 13 inch glass baking pan. Sprinkle with:
1 cup finely grated parmesan regianno.
Cover with Saran wrap. Chill or keep warm at room temperature if serving within an hour or so.
Before serving remove Saran, blot condensation from the cheese with a paper towel, and bake at 450 degrees till bubbly. This will take 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the temperature of the polenta.
Serve right away. Makes enough for 8. This is a creamy soft polenta, great as a side dish with roasted lamb!