Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Basic Polenta

I'm getting into alternative starch sides more and more these days. There are so many great options to mix it up from the old "rice, pasta, or potato tonight" doldrums. Polenta is a dish made from boiled corn meal, often served in Italian cooking instead of pasta.  This is a basic stand-by recipe that you could use with any of your favorite recipes that are served over pasta. You can also form the polenta, and grill squares of it as a dinner side.

4 cups water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup corn grits or coarse corn meal
1 TBSP butter (optional)

In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Slowly stir in corn grits, and stir frequently to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until mixture is very thick, continuing to stir often.

Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Spread mixture into loaf or bundt pan and let stand 15 minutes. Turn polenta onto a cutting board and cut into 1/2" slices.

Polenta can be used with your favorite marinara, along side sweet and sour sausage skewers, or even as the pasta layer of your favorite lasagna (make a double batch, grease your lasagna pan and another of the same size if you have one, pour the corn mixture into the pans and press into a thin layer and form 15 minutes. Turn out onto cutting boards, begin to build lasagna and carefully place polenta layers in place of dry noodles).

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