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Polenta. I love Polenta. You might only know it as a “log” you find in the store that you cut into slices and then bake or fry. And that’s good too. But soft, creamy polenta is so so good and so versatile as a side dish. AND it’s naturally gluten-free.
I thought, there has to be an easier way to make polenta, other than the stir stir stir method.
When I was little, my paternal grandmother used to make this for me for breakfast when we went to their house in the country. She called it cornmeal mush, but it really was soft polenta, with a pat of butter melting in the center.
My mother used to make it and then pour it into a baking dish to cool and firm up in the refrigerator. She would cut it into squares and fry them until crisp on the outside, creamy in the middle. Much like the logs you find in the stores but still so much better when it’s homemade.
Traditional recipes will have you bring a large amount of water to a boil, then slowly sprinkle in the polenta, making it “fall like rain” into the boiling water while constantly stirring, to prevent lumps. I love making Risotto in the pressure cooker because I don’t have to stand, stir, and ladle. The perfect result in about 10 minutes. So I thought, there has to be an easier way to make polenta, other than the stir stir stir method.
This is it! Oven Polenta! Easy, hands-free, perfect results. Try it. I think not only will you like it, I think you will impress the heck out of everyone you serve it to.
Preheat the oven to 350º F.
Put the polenta into a 2 quart baking dish, stir in the water and season with salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Add the butter and or butter and oil, stir in.
Set the dish, uncovered, in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Open the oven and stir in the cheese, bake for 10 minutes more.
Remove from oven, taste and adjust seasonings and serve.
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