Creamy Parmesan Polenta is gluten free & ready in 30 minutes! A great Italian side dish or base for your roasted vegetables, fish or meat.
This recipe's for anyone who struggles to think of a side dish besides potatoes, rice or pasta. Creamy Parmesan Polenta is my ace in the hole and is gluten free.
My family loves it, and it's my go-to starch whenever I feel like we need some variety on our menu. The bonus is that just about any entree and vegetable looks restaurant worthy when served on a bed of this delicious, cornmeal-based dish.
Yes, polenta is simply Italy's version of grits.
This recipe is ready in 30 minutes, with plenty of hands-off time to work on the rest of the meal. You just boil water, slowly add in cornmeal while whisking, and after three minutes, you lower the heat and partially cover the pot.
Then, over the next 20 minutes or so, you'll give the mixture a vigorous stir every five minutes. Then you'll add in some butter, cream cheese, freshly grated Parmesan, seasonings, and enough milk to create the consistency you like.
My favorite part is serving polenta, because it's fun to stack everything and make an eye-catching presentation. (You almost can't go wrong here.)
Yesterday, I added roasted bell peppers and red onions, and we enjoyed that as a vegetarian dinner. (So, so good!)
I prepared the peppers using the same method as in my Easy Sausage and Peppers, which by the way, would be fabulous over this Creamy Parmesan Polenta. (If you're skipping the sausage, the peppers should only take about 30-35 minutes at 400 degrees F.)
But really, you could place everything from grilled pork chops to Parmesan Chicken Drumsticks with Garlic Butter, Nonna's Fish with Tomatoes, and even Slow Cooker Carolina Pulled Pork over this polenta, and it would be outstanding. Just invite me over when you do, OK?
(Recipe Source: Cooking with Mamma C)
Creamy Parmesan Polenta
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup corn meal (regular or stone ground)
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 ounces cream cheese (low-fat is fine)
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 3-4 dashes garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons milk (or more to achieve desired consistency)
- Place the water and salt in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot. Cover the pot, and let the water come to a boil over high heat. When the water is boiling, slowly pour in the corn meal while whisking constantly. Whisk for about three minutes (the mixture should thicken a bit.) Lower the heat until the polenta bubbles every few seconds and partially cover the pot by propping a wooden spoon on the pot and resting the lid on it.
- Stir the polenta vigorously every five minutes, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pot. If the polenta seems like it's scalding on the bottom, lower the heat a bit. Continue cooking it in this manner, for 20-25 minutes. (Taste it after 20 minutes to see if it is smooth enough for your taste.)
- Turn off the heat and add the butter and cream cheese, stirring until they're melted and blended well. Stir in the Parmesan, pepper and garlic powder. Then add the milk, starting with 3 tablespoons and adding more if needed to achieve the consistency you like.
- Serve the polenta immediately, as it will begin to firm up as it sits. Spoon polenta into each plate or bowl and top with your entree and vegetables. Refrigerate leftover polenta for up to five days.