Polenta

Polenta is a dish of boiled cornmeal that was historically made from other grains. The dish comes from Italy. It may be served as a hot porridge, or it may be allowed to cool and solidify into a loaf that can be baked, fried, or grilled.

The variety of cereal used is usually yellow maize, but often buckwheat, white maize, or mixtures thereof may be used. Coarse grinds make a firm, coarse polenta; finer grinds make a soft, creamy polenta. Polenta is a staple of Northern Italian, Swiss and Balkan (where it is called kačamak or žganci) cuisines (and, to a lesser extent, the Central Italian one, e.g. Tuscany)and its consumption was traditionally associated with lower classes, as in times past cornmeal mush was an essential food in their everyday nutrition.

Why do people like Polenta

Polenta is healthy in addition to being an aphrodisiac. It is lower in calories than bread and pasta, fights cellulite and cholesterol and is very digestible.

Polenta comes in two variants: a hot semi-liquid one, more or less dense and yellow according to its area of production, and a finger food version of solidified rectangular polenta sticks that are either fried or grilled and then left to cool. Children in the rural north love to dip polenta sticks into hot cups of milk at breakfast while teenagers like to nibble them as appetisers during happy hour.

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Ingredients that go into Polenta

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish

How to cook Polenta

Step 1 : Bring water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan; pour polenta slowly into boiling water, whisking constantly until all polenta is stirred in and there are no lumps.

Step 2 : Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until polenta starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Polenta mixture should still be slightly loose. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, whisking every 5 to 6 minutes. When polenta is too thick to whisk, stir with a wooden spoon. Polenta is done when texture is creamy and the individual grains are tender.

Step 3 : Turn off heat and gently stir 2 tablespoons butter into polenta until butter partially melts; mix 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into polenta until cheese has melted. Cover and let stand 5 minutes to thicken; stir and taste for salt before transferring to a serving bowl. Top polenta with remaining 1 tablespoon butter and about 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish.

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What can Polenta be served together with

Polenta is often served as a soft, thick mush, which may be topped with sauce, a hearty ragoût, or cheese. Cooked polenta can also be cooled until firm and cut into wedges, rounds, or other shapes, which can be baked, grilled, or pan-fried.

Other popular Italian food

Besides Polenta, there are other Italian food dishes that are highly popular in Singapore and around the world. Below is a list of some of the most mentioned ones:

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