Back when I used to waitress on Mulberry Street in Little Italy, NYC my boss and I would order dinner from one of the nearby restaurants. (I know what you're thinking - you were waitressing why didn't you eat the food there - it's because in the evenings we would only serve coffee and cake otherwise we would not go down the block for a meal). We'd usually eat the same things. One of the dishes we'd order was polenta or as what my boss used to reference as peasant's food that was now a delicacy. It's pretty simple, tasty and hearty so if it was good enough to fill the bellies of Italian peasants it's good enough for me. If you like mashed potatoes this is like the Italian cousin of it. It's creamy, garlicky and cheesy. Perfect. I actually think it may be easier to make than mashed potatoes!
And to go with the common thread of this week I nabbed this recipe from none other than Ina Garten.
- 4 cups chicken or veggie stock
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- 1/4 cup creme fraiche (I used Greek yogurt)
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
Directions via Ina Garten's Creamy Parmesan Polenta
- Place the chicken stock in a large saucepan.
- Add the garlic and cook over medium-high heat until the stock comes to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and very slowly whisk in the cornmeal, whisking constantly to make sure there are no lumps.
- Switch to a wooden spoon, add the salt and pepper, and simmer, stirring almost constantly, for 10 minutes, until thick.
- Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan thoroughly while you're stirring.
- Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, creme fraiche/Greek yogurt, and butter.
- Taste for seasonings and serve hot with extra Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top.