If you’ve had polenta before then you know that it’s an Italian porridge made with a type of cornmeal. Once boiled it is often fried or baked. It’s creamy and delicious. I like to add ricotta cheese to make it lighter and creamier. Here I top it with a springy and flavorful mix of sautéed mushrooms and leeks and a soft boiled egg for a comforting and filling vegetarian meal.
The first time that I attempted to make polenta I stood in the middle of the aisle staring at the assortment of grains. I thought polenta was pretty common and yet none of the packages explicitly stated “polenta” or “you can make polenta with this”.
As usual, Google saved the day. A quick search told me that the difference between cornmeal and grits and polenta is pretty slim so if you want, you can just use medium or coarse ground cornmeal and call it a day. But if you really want to know the difference between grits and polenta, then you will find that the it is in the type of corn that is used and how fine the grind.
Polenta is made with a variety of corn called “flint,” which contains a hard starch center. Grits can be made from dried and ground corn but it’s typically made from hominy – corn kernels that are dried and treated with lime and coarsely ground. Ok it’s still a bit confusing but at least I tried!
Unfortunately polenta is best served right after it’s made. It will tighten and turn from creamy to cake-like if made ahead of time. If this does happen, I recommend making this crispy polenta recipe with spicy tomato sauce.
If you enjoy this delicious polenta recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:
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