Polenta is a basic staple that is eaten all over the world, probably because it only has two main ingredients: corn meal and a liquid. It is prepared in many countries of eastern Europe, North and South America, Africa, and even the Caribbean Islands. In the southern part of the United States, polenta is similar to grits. However, grits is usually made with coarsely ground alkali-treated corn called hominy. I’ll stick with my simple and creamy Parmesan polenta for now though.
Making polenta is quick and easy. It’s packed full of flavor and pairs well with grilled steak. In my opinion, the most important part of making Parmesan polenta is using a really good Parmesan cheese.
I’ll repeat that. A really good Parmesan cheese.
None of the pre-grated stuff out of a can is acceptable. If you skimp on Parmesan, I promise that this polenta won’t be as good as it could be. I try and find a Parmesan with an extra-sharp flavor. Then, I can be confident that the complex flavor will shine through in my dishes.
If you’ve seen some of my latest recipes, you’ll know that I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with using almond milk over regular milk. I started drinking it a lot after working out and have made it my mission to use it in my dishes. Usually, I think it works well.
When I tried making a polenta with almond milk, the flavor was definitely sub-par. I stood at my stove trying to mask the almond milk flavor. I added more Parmesan, garlic, herbs, sweat, and tears. Just kidding.
Seriously though, I could never get the polenta to taste as good as its milk counterpart. I promised myself that from now on, I would use good Parmesan cheese and real cow’s milk. It just tastes so good.
If you’ve ever used almond milk in polenta please let me know! I’m open to suggestions.
- ¾ cup yellow corn meal
- 2 cups milk
- 1¾ cup water
- ¾ cup Parmesan, freshly grated
- 2 tbsp butter, unsalted
- salt and pepper, to taste
- fresh Italian herbs (optional)
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the milk and water to a simmer.
- Slowly add the corn meal and whisk to combine. Once all of the corn meal has been incorporated, reduce the heat to low. Add a pinch of salt. Stir vigorously every few minutes.
- Cook the polenta until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the corn meal is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese. Add chopped fresh Italian herbs, if desired. Season with additional salt and pepper. Enjoy!