Friday, September 27, 2013

Perfect Polenta – Dedicated to Some Fun Girl

Not only is polenta one of the first foods I remember watching someone cook, but it’s probably also responsible for the first time I ever heard someone curse. 

I remember my grandfather standing at the stove, stirring a big pot of the stuff, and every once in a while some of the thick, bubbling polenta would burp out of the pot and on to his hand. He would jump back and yell something, which to my very young ears sounded sort of like, “hey, some fun girl!” 

Of course, years later I realized he was actually saying, “vaffanculo.” I’ll let you translate yourself. By the way, one way to avoid the wrath of the molten mush is to adjust your heat to maintain a nice gentle bubble.

Besides severe burns, there’s not a lot that can go wrong with this recipe. As long as you stir it in slowly, whisking constantly, and simmer it until it’s perfectly soft, you will have one of the world’s great comfort foods, and a beautiful base for any number of stews or braises. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 Portions:
4 cups water or broth
1 cup polenta (you can use regular corn meal, but it’s not as easy to work with, and the texture isn’t as interesting)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1/2  cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Note: if your question is, “can you add [blank] to this recipe,” the answer is yes.