We, like everyone else we know, are finding ourselves on a tighter budget because of the cost of gas and heating oil. My daughters love polenta, and while I am Italian, I always thought it was too tricky to make from scratch. I mean really, would they be selling it in rolls at the store for $3 or more if it was easy?
Polenta is incredibly easy to make, and while it requires a bit of time, it’s done in under an hour. You need to simmer your marinara for a while anyway, so let it simmer while the polenta bakes. There’s very little work involved after the first few minutes other than being in the house while the oven’s on. I have adapted a recipe for polenta from The Silver Spoon, a fabulous cookbook for anything and everything Italian. I bought the cookbook for everyone at Christmas a couple years ago, and we’re all still cooking our way through it!
This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, top 8 allergen free, and vegan/vegetarian recipe.
- 6 cups water
- 3 cups cornmeal (I use fine-ground, but a courser grind is more traditional)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- (optional)2-3 shakes basil or oregano or Italian seasoning
- olive oil
Preheat oven to 400F
Bring the water and salt (and spices if using) to a boil in a large saucepan or medium-sized soup pot. Make sure you have enough room in the pot to add the cornmeal.
While the water is boiling, drizzle olive oil over the bottom of a 9×13 pan or two smaller pans.
When the water boils, sprinkle in the cornmeal with one hand, and whisk it into the water with the other hand. Whisk carefully so there aren’t too many lumps, and watch out for spitting cornmeal, it can burn. (You may want to don your Kevlar® gloves for this part!)
Once all the cornmeal has been whisked into the water, you will have a nice cornmeal mush. Pat it into the oiled pan(s) with a spatula, then drizzle a little olive oil over the top. Slide it into the oven, and set the timer for 45 minutes.
Check the polenta – the top should be a bit crisp, and the edges golden brown. Slice and serve with a sauce. You’ll never buy the other stuff again!
Serve this with a lovely side salad and marinara and sausages (if not vegetarian). Mmmm… One of my daughters prefers the polenta plain, then eats the red sauce and sausages with a spoon!