Unless your roots lie in Italy, polenta may be pretty unfamiliar. It certainly was for The Goddess. But, she’s a convert. This is a great starting place, if you’ve never made polenta. You can do this and polenta with corn and cheese is just so delicious. As you have discerned by now, The Goddess likes to mix things up a bit. So in the summer, when the corn is at its peak, she likes to throw some into polenta. It’s corn with corn! Some might think it’s overkill, but it’s delicious. The corn just sort of blends right into the polenta, but not so much that it doesn’t add some texture, too.
In a heavy saucepan, combine the broth, water, creams and salt together and bring the mixture to the boil. You want the liquid bubbling away when you pour in the cornmeal. The key to a smooth, creamy polenta—1) whisk while pouring the cornmeal in a slow, steady stream. I whisk for about 2 minutes, then lower the heat. 2) it’s important to keep the heat low or the cornmeal may stick and burn. If you do these 2 things, you’ll have great polenta. After the initial addition of the cornmeal, you don’t need to constantly stir. Just stir the mixture occasionally (I use a wooden spatula—see the picture below) and continue to cook over low heat for about 8-10 minutes. Add the olive oil and the corn kernels. Cover and continue to cook, over LOW heat, for about another 15 minutes or until the cornmeal is soft and thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheeses. Taste and add additional salt if you need to.
Now, you can leave the mixture sit (off the heat), covered for at least 15 minutes and it will stay nice and hot. But, as the mixture sits, it may thicken. If that happens, add some additional hot water (or cream) until you have a nice, soft consistency. You now have a deliciously combination of flavors that will lend itself to some wonderful sauces.
Creamy Corn and Cheese Polenta
- 2 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth (preferably organic)
- 1 cup water (you may need a bit more)
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups corn kernels, cut from 2 ears of corn
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup polenta (Italian cornmeal) or regular cornmeal
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
- 1 cup shredded 6 Italian cheese blend
Bring the broth, water, heavy cream, olive oil, corn kernels and the salt to a boil in a heavy, large saucepan over high heat. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Lower the heat, and continue to whisk until the polenta begins to thicken, about 3 to 4 minutes. Cover and continue to cook until the polenta is very thick and tender. Stir often with a flat-bottom spoon or heatproof rubber spatula to prevent sticking or burning. Cook for about 20 minutes. Stir in the cheeses; season with more salt, if desired. Serve immediately.
NOTE: If you wish to make this when corn is not in season, you may use thawed, frozen corn kernels. You may also omit the cheese, by why would you? If you omit the corn, you really have a blank canvas to which you can add chopped fresh herbs, different cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes, lots of coarsely ground black pepper, bleu cheese, toasted spices…you get the idea.
Creamy Corn and Cheese Polenta Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2017. All rights reserved.
I served this with Sicilian-Style Tuna Steaks. One doesn’t usually think about tuna with polenta or with cheese, but it works well with the sauce that the tuna is cooked in.
As I mentioned in the NOTE attached to the recipe. This is basically a blank canvas to which you can create any number of wonderful works of culinary art! Be creative!