Polenta: Italy’s cornbread
Who knew cornmeal could make such a tasty dish? As a native Texan, I grew up eating cornbread, so I know cornmeal has outstanding merits. But until tonight I had never attempted to make my own polenta. Although time consuming and a bid monotonous (after the roux anything seems like a breeze), once I turned the polenta out onto a pizza board and topped it with grated fontina cheese I couldn’t get it to the table fast enough for the littles.
“It looks like a fat, square pizza”.
“It’s not red”.
“Can we move to Italy and eat risotto and polenta”.
I served the polenta with an Italian Sausage Gravy. Gravy in Italy is as different to us as cornbread and polenta. This gravy was made with two varieties of tomatoes, browned Italian sausage, onion, sweet basil, mint and red pepper flakes. It was rich and perfectly matched with the polenta.
Tonight’s inspiration comes from a cookbook given to me by my dear friend Julie. Although she lives in DC now, she’s from the Boston area and for our birthdays we give each other regional cookbooks. My family thanks you, Jules, for an outstanding Italian feast!
North End Italian Cookbook
Polenta & Italian Sausage Gravy