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Creamy Polenta

  • 5 minutes
  • 10 minutes
  • 4
Creamy Polenta

Every culture has a basic starch that epitomises it cuisine. Polenta - a porridge-like gruel made from maize - is associated with Northern Italy. There it is served topped with gravy or a rich tomato sauce, any leftover are pan-fried with savoury toppings wich, today, is stil the more popular way of eating this simple dish.


  • 2½ cups milk or stock or a mixture of both
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup instant polenta
  • ½ cup grated fresh Parmesan or Cheddar-style cheese
  • ½ cup cream


  1. Bring the stock or milk and salt to a scalding point in a large saucepan.
  2. Slowly stir in the polenta, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes quite thick. Continue to cook for a further 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and cream. Season with salt and pepper and pile into a serving dish. Garnish with extra cheese if wished.
  4. Or you could...
  5. Spread the mixture into a well-greased and lined 20cmx30cm slice tin and refrigerate for 2-3 hours until frim. Cut into wedges and pan-fry in butter or olive oil and serve topped with your favourite savoury mix. For example, baked pumpkin tossed with red onions and crumbled feta cheese, olives, rosemary and grilled bacon. This dish is garnished with Parmesan and served with a drizzle of olive oil.

Cooks Tips

- Store polenta in an airtight container away from light and heat to avoid the oils in the grain becoming rancid. - For family use, quick-cook polenta is the easiest to use. - Cook the polenta well to make a smooth porridge-like consistency with no coarse granules remaining. - Make with water, stock, stock and milk or just milk and finish with butter, cream and/or cheese if wished to add flavour and richness. - Polenta is available in both white and yello maize grains - both are delicious, however, the white has a more delicate flavour. - Polenta can be used to thicken a casserole or curry in place of flour; add 2-3 tablespoons with the sauce before simmering. - Toss fish, prawns or chicken nibbles in polenta tossed with herbs before pan frying for a crunchy topping. - Add 2-3 tablespoons to a hamburger mix to hold the mince together in place of breadcrumbs.

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