How to make polenta: traditional recipe and tips for perfect cooking. Doses, types of polenta, history and origins of the recipe. Nutritional values and tips for preparing baked polenta or fried polenta.
Polenta, origins and history
There polenta, corn flour-based food, is a very popular dish throughout Italy but famous above all in the north, where it has its origins.
Sixsouthernare often labeled with the term "southerners ", the northerners have earned the appellation of“polentoni” precisely to highlight the peasant roots of this geographical area. From poor dish as it was, thepolentait has often been at the center of various debates. For years it has been pointed to as the cause of pellagra, a serious disease linked to a lack of vitamin PP, niacin or vitamin B3. Even if thecorn polentait has always been the most widespread, in different areas of Italy, based on the local peasant vocation, different types of polenta have had origins. So let's talk aboutpotato polenta, corn polenta (the most common one even today), chestnut polenta, buckwheat polenta and white polenta. For recipes or to learn more about these different types of polenta, I refer you to the pages:
- Buckwheat polenta or black polenta
- White polenta
- Potato polenta
- Chestnut polenta
Originally, thepolentait wasn't alwaysmono-food, to corn or buckwheat flour, for example, cereal flours or even legume flours could be added.
Today, thepolenta, is highly regarded for its versatility. On this page, we will illustrate you how to make polenta with the traditional recipe, but also how to fry it and put it back in the oven.
Thereinstant polentathat we often find on the market, is nothing more than corn flourpreviously steamedso as to greatly reduce cooking times. Of course, the purists will not forgive you but for those who do not have time to try their hand at preparing theoriginal recipe, remains a viable alternative. It is useless to explain to you how instant polenta is made ... on the back of each purchase package you can see how to use it withdosesof water to add and cooking times. Much more complex speech for thereal cornmeal polentawhich, not being pre-cooked, requires extra time and attention.
How to make polenta, original recipe
In this paragraph we will give you the original recipe of polenta with optimal doses to obtain a polenta with a medium consistency. In the next paragraph, we will give you the doses to obtain a solid, thick or softer polenta.
- ½ kilo of craved cornmeal
- 2 liters of water
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of coarse table salt
- fresh ground pepper (optional)
- A copper cauldron (or saucepan)
At any time during cooking, you can adjust the consistency of your polenta. Like? By extending cooking or, if necessary, by adding water.
Little tip: do you know that to obtain a tomato-flavored polenta you can add tomato puree together with the water?
How to make polenta
- Place a pan full of water on the stove to bring to a boil.
- Once this is done, add the tablespoon of coarse salt and, if you prefer, the oil.
- At this point, add the corn flour slowly and in small doses, stirring with a wooden spoon.
- Stir again so that all the lumps disappear and continue cooking for about 45 minutes: if the polenta becomes too hard, add one or more ladles of hot water. When it begins to detach from the edges of the pot, then it is ready but if you want, you can continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes in order to obtain a more solid consistency polenta.
- After this time, pour the polenta on the wooden cutting board and cut it into slices. You can accompany the polenta with meat with sauce, vegetables, fish and many other condiments.
As is clear,make polentaaccording totraditional recipeit is not difficult, it just requires patience. Why? Because for an optimal result, during the 45 minutes of cooking you should constantly turn the corn flour to make the cooking homogeneous and improve its consistency.
Electric cauldron to facilitate cooking
To that end, there is no shortage of devices that "do the hard work" for you. They are created for all those preparations that require constant processing (panettone, cooking creams, tomato paste, jams, polenta…). To better understand what I'm talking about, I refer you to an Amazon product, an electric cauldron with excellent value for money.
For all the info:
- Pot for polenta
How to make baked polenta
Once the polenta has been prepared you will need to get: butter, fontina and Leerdammer cheese.
Cut the cheese into thin slices then place the slices of polenta in the lightly greased pan. Put the cheeses on top and complete with other slices of polenta on top: add a few flakes of butter before another layer of polenta. Bake and cook until it is golden on the surface
How to make polenta with butter
Unlike the original recipe, polenta with butter involves the use of ingredients such as butter and, if necessary, cheese.
In fact, towards the end of cooking the polenta, you will need to add 150 grams of butter and 400 grams of fontina. Mix carefully to melt and mix all the ingredients and then pour everything on the wooden board.
How much water to add to obtain the polenta with the desired consistency.
- A report of1 to 5 to obtain a very soft polenta, to be eaten by the spoon, therefore, the doses would be 200 g of flour with 1 liter of water.
- A proportion of1 to 4 for a polenta of medium consistency, therefore, the recommended doses see the use of 200 g of flour for every 800 ml of water.
- A report of1 to 3 to obtain a firm polenta, to be served in slices or more suitable for frying. In this case, the doses would see the use of 200 g of flour with 600 ml of water.
Variations: if you want to try fried polenta, just cut it into pieces and fry it in boiling oil as explained on the page "how to fry polenta".
Nutritional values and calories compared
100 grams of classic polenta bring 183 calories against 356 of durum wheat semolina pasta, 279 of common bread, 362 of rice. The vegetable proteins of polenta are 4.4 g against 10.8 g for pasta, 8.1 for bread, 7 for rice. Carbohydrates are 40.8 grams against 82.8 g of pasta, 64.7 g of bread, 87.6 g of rice.