When you think about polenta, do you envision having to babysit a pot and stirring it for 30 minutes? This creamy polenta recipe shows you a great hack to make polenta more hands-off without sacrificing supple texture.
The right cut of cornmeal to use in the polenta is a coarse-ground de-germinated cornmeal such as yellow grits (with grains the size of couscous). Corn is a whole grain and each whole grain is composed of three parts: the endosperm, bran, and germ. So, de-germinated cornmeal means the germ has been removed. Avoid using instant and quick-cooking products, as well as whole-grain, stone-ground and regular cornmeal.
Orchard Choice and Sun-Maid Golden Figs as a garnish on top add a distinctive nutty sweetness that complements the subtle honey notes in the cornmeal of this creamy polenta recipe. You could also use California Mission Dried Figs for the familiar fig flavor and a contrast in color, but if you have Golden Figs, they are our top pick here.
How to Serve This Creamy Polenta Recipe
Typically polenta is served as a side dish, a comforting addition to sop up the liquid in stews and braises. You could also serve the polenta as a main course, topped with meat sauce for a bowl of rustic comfort food. Or, lean into the cheese—the Parmesan already adds a nutty umami flavor, so you could switch things up and serve with a wedge of cheese (Manchego or crumbly blue cheese would bring out a different flavor from the polenta).
Creamy Parmesan Polenta
- 8 cups water
- 2 cups medium-grain polenta
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 ounces Parmesan cheese , grated (2 cups)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 6 pieces
- 1 cup Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Golden Dried Figs , stems removed + sliced in half
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine water, polenta, salt, and pepper in 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Transfer dish to oven and bake, uncovered, until water is absorbed and polenta has thickened, about 60 minutes.
- Remove baking dish from oven and whisk in Parmesan and butter until polenta is smooth and creamy. Serve. Top with sliced golden figs, or on the side, serve with the Broccoli Rabe, Dried Figs and Pine Nuts.