A favorite meal to make for myself or for hospitality is based on a bowl of tasty polenta. Although “polenta” sometimes refers to other grains, I would recommend corn for this Italian comfort food. The polenta base can make a quick dinner or great breakfast with bacon and cheese. And, it is gluten free!
Although the recipe below includes veggies, all you really need is liquid and corn. As with most of my cooking, you just “Use what you got!”
Hearty Polenta (4 servings)
- 1 onion
- 1 pint mushrooms (or chunks of zucchini, summer squash, canned or frozen artichokes. . .)
- dash of olive oil (or bacon grease)
- dash of salt
- 4 cups liquid (I prefer chicken broth, but other broths, water, or a combination of broth and water works great–you will just need more seasoning)
- 1 cup dry polenta (Bob’s Red Mill or you can use fine grits)
Chop onion and quarter mushrooms. Sauté with olive oil and salt in a sauce pan for 2-3 minutes. Add 4 cups of liquid and bring to a boil. Gradually add the polenta, stirring continually. Cook on medium high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Serve in bowls, top with any of the items below.
- Add a cooked meat: ham, meatballs, bacon, sausage, or chopped chicken.
- Add a sauce: marinara, alfredo, or arrabbiata.
- Add a shredded cheese: parmesan, pepper jack, gouda, mozzarella, or dollops of ricotta
- Top with green onions and you are good to go!
Stores great in glass jars, and will keep in the fridge for a week or for months in the freezer. Can be made ahead and jarred. Just add a touch of liquid if needed to reheat.