Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ode to Polenta

My 200th Post!

The weather is morphing back into fall here in Portland. It is getting darker earlier, the rain is back, and the weather is getting cooler. Cooler weather calls for comfort food! Comfort food is high on my list these days, pregnancy has my craving cozy food above all other.

I have been turning to polenta again and again to fill this craving. In a few minutes you can make a creamy base layer for almost any topping. I like it because it cooks faster then pasta and reheats far better. The first time I had polenta I was in graduate school living with a mix of interesting people. One stressful, rainy night my Southern roommate slammed his book shut and stalked into the kitchen. 20 minutes later he called us in for a study break. Bowls of steaming polenta with melted smoked gouda topped with a fried egg were waiting for us to dig into. That meal has stuck with me and still love adding a fried egg to polenta and cheese. 

I am getting bigger and bigger and slower and slower. This has made dinner time seem like more of a hassle then joy. I am focusing on fast, satisfying meals. The other night I made a quick sauce out of canned tomatoes, Italian sausage, loads of fennel seeds and oregano. We spooned this over the top of a bowl of polenta and added a small sprinkle of pamesean cheese. It was dinner in 15 minutes.

Other ideas:
*Polenta Pizza! Spread warm polenta into a pie pan. Top with your favorite pizza toppings and broil for a few minutes.
*Quick Lunch: Microwave your leftover polenta with some cherry tomatoes, basil and a spinkle of salt.
*Top polenta with stew or any meat sauce.
* Polenta made with sugar, butter, cinnamon and raisins makes a great breakfast.
* Pour hot polenta into a large pan. As it cools it will soldify. You can cut the cooled polenta into squares and top like crackers for appetizers.

Quick Polenta (makes about 2 cups)
3 cups water
1 cup dried polenta
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon butter

1. Bring water to a boil. Add salt and butter.
2. Add polenta and stir. Keep stirring for about 5 minutes until polenta is soft and creamy. If needed add a little more water and continue stirring.

PS. Keep those New Mama Food Ideas coming! You don't have to leave your name to comment. (But you could also become a follower) :) 


  1. For some reason, I've never really been a fan of polenta. I think it's too creamy for me.

  2. I've never tried polenta! I've had grits which I understand are similar. I have cornmeal, can you use that to make polenta or does it have to be a special polenta grind? Either way I have to make some of this - it looks so good!

  3. Polenta is one of my favorite things in the whole world!