Italian Style Coarse Polenta
Our Italian-Style Coarse Polenta is comfort food at its finest. Made from coarsely ground yellow corn, it cooks up to a soft, creamy consistency that is an ideal complement to a range of flavors.
Bring 4 cups water or stock to boil. Add 1 cup Italian-Style Coarse Polenta very gradually, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat a simmer for about 40 minutes, or until very thick, stirring every 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Storage & handling
Store in a dry, cool place.
Polenta is a hearty, comforting, extremely versatile Italian-style accompaniment to a wide variety of dishes. What's more, since it is simply made from coarsely ground corn, it is naturally gluten-free.
Known globally as maize, corn is the only grain whose origin can be traced to the Americas. Scientists believe that the people of central Mexico developed corn from the indigenous wild grass teosinte at least 7,000 years ago. Corn spread north into the present-day southwestern United States and south as far as Peru.
When Christopher Columbus landed in modern day Cuba, some of his crew went inland and came across maize being cultivated by Native Americans. It's unclear whether corn was brought back to Europe after Columbus's first or second voyage, but by the early 16th century it was being cultivated on the continent.
In Italy, corn is most often served as polenta, a staple dish in Northern Italy (and formerly throughout Italy, until pasta unseated it in the 20th century), where it was regarded as peasant food for centuries. Polenta can carry many different flavors, and as such, offers endless options for variation. It can also be made with either white or yellow corn, and can be ground coarse or fine. However, coarsely ground yellow polenta is in keeping with the true Italian style.
Speaking of the true Italian style, polenta with ragu is traditionally served directly on wooden planks, rather than in a bowl or on a plate, hearkening back to a time before dishware, when polenta was poured directly onto a well-scrubbed tabletop. This ancient rustic style is called "polenta spianatora," or "polenta spread flat." Putting the polenta in the center of the table meant that those with the longest arms (the adults) reached the best parts of the ragu first. The wooden plank presentation style is still used almost exclusively throughout Italy.
Our Italian-Style Coarse Polenta is ready to cook whenever you are. It's an extremely adaptable base for any number of dishes, but it pairs especially well with other hearty foods and bold flavors. Top a creamy mound of polenta with roasted or stewed meats (osso bucco is a natural match) or a traditional ragu made with Italian sausage. Or pour cooked polenta into a greased mold and refrigerate until firm, then slice and grill, sauté or fry for added texture.
Polenta is a nutritious dish, offering an excellent source of iron and a good source of vitamin A and potassium, along with dietary fiber.
This side dish showcases the rich, earthy, buttery flavor of our Morel Mushrooms as well as the versatility of Italian Style Coarse Polenta. After cooking, the polenta is chilled, sliced, topped with butter and cheese and baked until slightly crispy, giving it a wonderful texture and presentation.