So after making my some-what successful Penne Alla Vodka (if you have the stomach for spicy food, that is), I decided it needed a side dish. Polenta seemed fitting, because first of all it's a typical Italian side dish, and second of all it's easy to make (well, at least I assumed it was). There are basically three main ingredients- cornmeal, water, and butter. While looking for recipes online, I avoided ones that seemed too fancy or complicated (because duh, this is my first time making Polenta, so I thought I should keep it fairly basic). I ended up choosing Giada's recipe because if she can't make polenta correctly, then she isn't a true Italian in my eyes.
The recipe needed 1+3/4 cup cornmeal, but don't ask me why I chose to use 3 measuring cups at the same time (a 1 cup, a 1/2 cup, and a 1/4 cup).
So basically all you do is bring 6 cups of water to a boil, and then gradually whisk the cornmeal until your arms fall off (about 15 minutes). Once it started to firm up (which by the way, was really neat to watch), I thought that maybe I should have looked up recipes with a little more pizzazz. So right before it was almost finished, I grabbed a handful of Parmesan cheese and sprinkled a little bit of garlic salt. Hopefully that'll give it at least a little bit of flavor.
Right before it set up, I added the butter and mixed until it was thoroughly melted.
Giada's recipe just ends there, which I thought was really odd. I grabbed a 9x13 inch greased baking dish and poured it in for it to set.
So I don't understand what Giada was planning on doing with a huge pot full of firmed up polenta... At least here I can slice it and make little cute cubes of polenta like how I get at restaurants.
So unfortunately I don't have any photos of this, but I cut up small squares of polenta and fried them in a pan. Trust me, it tasted so good because the outsides were slightly crisp and the insides still retained that mushy polenta feel. Anyways, here is a photo of one of my (many leftover) cubes of un-fried polenta. (P.S. I hope this can at least sort of redeem myself from my horrible cornbread from Thanksgiving.)
Taken from Giada De Laurentiis.
6 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
(I also added a handful of Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of garlic salt)
1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan.
2. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal.
3. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes.
4. Turn off the heat. Add the butter, and stir until melted.
(5. Put in a dish!)