When I say this creamy parmesan polenta recipe comes out creamy and cheesy every time, I mean it! It’s creamy texture works as the perfect base for a beef ragu, sautéed veggies, and Italian sausages. It’s also a delicious side dish for when your family is burned out on rice! This is genuinely a recipe I continue to make time and time again.
Why you should make this:
Polenta originated in Northern Italy and is a great Italian dish to serve instead of pasta or rice as an accompaniment to meat sauces, stews, or chilis. Polenta is also extremely versatile and easy to make. It’s made from simple ingredients and has a delicious deep corn flavor.
Ingredients for parmesan polenta:
- Whole milk: You can use any milk here but whole milk makes the finished product extra rich and luxurious!
- Heavy whipping cream: This is the ingredient that makes the biggest difference for creamier polenta.
- Dry polenta, coarse-ground cornmeal or yellow cornmeal: Make sure you are using the right type of cornmeal here. The precooked polenta found in a roll will not work for the liquid ratios in this recipe.
- Salted butter: I like salted butter here because it adds more depth of flavor but you can use unsalted and add more salt at the end to compensate.
- Parmesan cheese: Don’t skimp on this! It is the extra flavor that plain polenta craves!
- Salt and pepper
How to make parmesan polenta:
- Add the milk and cream to a pot and allow it to simmer.
- Whisk in the dry polenta so it doesn’t clump.
- Cover the pot for 30 minutes and stir in-between.
- Once cooked, add in the butter, parmesan and seasonings.
No, dry polenta is the only thing that works for these ratios of cream and milk. If you use pre-cooked, all of the liquid will not be absorbed correctly and won’t have a smooth texture.
Parmesan is definitely my favorite cheese for this but Pecorino Romano is a close second. If you can’t find either of those at the grocery store, try Asiago.
Wooden spoons are great for dishes like this because they hold up well against thick, creamy mixtures like polenta. A wooden spoon is also soft enough to protect your pan when you’re scraping the bottom while stirring.
The best way to make something new out of your leftovers is by making polenta fries or polenta cakes! The only other ingredient you’ll need is olive oil!. For the cakes, just allow your leftover polenta to chill in the fridge until it is a consistency that’s easy for shaping, then form small amount into pancake shapes and shallow fry them in olive oil until they’re beautifully golden. Now you have another perfect side dish!
Creamy Parmesan Polenta
- 1 whisk
- 1 Wooden spoon
- 1 Medium pot
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup dry polenta
- 3 tbsp butter salted
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Add the milk and cream to a pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer (don't allow this to boil or else it will scorch and curdle!)
- Once the mixture is hot, slowly add in the polenta while whisking to ensure it doesn't clump together. Continue whisking for about a minute.
- Reduce to low heat and cover for 30 minutes, making sure to stir every 5 minutes with a wooden spoon.
- Once done, remove from the heat and add in the butter, parmesan, salt and pepper.
- Stir one more time to melt the butter, then transfer to a serving bowl. You should be left with perfect polenta!
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