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In this post you’ll learn how to make polenta from cornmeal.

Read on to discover the secrets of the authentic Italian polenta recipe.

creamy polenta in a bowl with gricia sauce
creamy polenta from cornmeal in a white bowl, seasoned with guanciale and grated pecorino cheese

I learned to make polenta from cornmeal during my Val D’Orcia road trip. We met Luca, a guy from a polenta stand, in a Christmas market, talked for a while, and ended up writing down his instructions and tips to make the best creamy polenta from cornmeal. As he had predicted, there is no comparison between the pre-cooked and making polenta from scratch.
Of course, making polenta with cornmeal takes longer, but it’s worth every added minute.

To compensate for the time spent, you can make an effortless polenta dish: Gricia polenta.
Or, if you’re in the mood for cooking, make a sausage tomato sauce: polenta and sausages are one of the best things ever conceived here in Italy!

how to make polenta from cornmeal

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2
Author Claudia Rinaldi

Ingredients

  • 8,8 oz corn polenta flour (cornmeal) 250 gr
  • 25,4 oz water 750 gr
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Wet and squeeze a cotton dish cloth.

  2. Heat water with salt and oil in a medium/large pot, but don’t get to a boil. 

  3. Add the flour “a fontana” (=sprinkling it over the water little at the time), whisking vigorously.

  4. Whisk until completely amalgamated.

  5. Cover with the dishcloth (in contact with the polenta paste), leaving a crack open.

  6. Place the pot over the smallest of your stoves, at the minimum heat, and cook 30-40 minutes.

  7. Remove the cloth and check the consistency. If you’d like it creamier, add hot water until you get the result you are looking for (I added half a cup).

Recipe Notes

If you want to change servings, remember that the proportion between flour and water is 1:3.

You’ll probably find a crust on the bottom of the pot, no worries: soak it in water overnight.

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Gricia polenta

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2
Author Claudia Rinaldi | Gourmet Project

Ingredients

for the polenta

  • 8,8 oz corn polenta flour (cornmeal) 250 gr
  • 25,4 oz water 750 ml
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

for the gricia polenta

  • 1.8 oz pecorino cheese 50 gr
  • 1,8 oz guanciale 50 gr

Instructions

  1. Wet and squeeze a cotton dish cloth.
  2. Heat water with salt and oil in a medium/large pot, but don’t get to a boil.

  3. Add the flour “a fontana” (=sprinkling it over the water little at the time) and whisk vigorously. Whisk until well mixed.

  4. Cover with the dish cloth (in contact with the paste), leaving a chink. Place the pot over the smallest of your stoves, at the minimum heat. Let cook 30-40 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile grate the pecorino cheese and julienne guanciale. Brown the guanciale in a small pan (no oil, it will release its own) until crunchy.

  6. Remove the cloth and check consistency. If you’d like it creamier, add hot water until you get the result you are looking for (I added half a cup).
  7. When the polenta is ready, serve it with the guanciale, its oil and the pecorino cheese.

Enjoy your creamy polenta!

Claudia

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