Polenta is a great side dish to substitute for potatoes or another starch. This recipe with parmesan cheese is great to accompany a steak and went beautifully with the Cabernet Sauvignon we had from L’Ecole No. 41 in Washington.
Polenta is a pretty simple dish. I used Bob’s Red Mill Polenta, but I’m sure there are other brands out there. You want dry polenta, not the soft Italian premade polenta, for this dish.
Polenta is just water, salt, and polenta (or grits) cooked slowly. I used chicken stock for 1/2 of my liquid to give it a bit more flavor. The butter and parmesan get stirred in when it is done.
One thing to be careful of with polenta is that you can easily get burned. As the mixture thickens, it bubbles like slow-moving lava, and when the bubbles burst you can be burned by the steam or polenta bits that fly. To avoid this, cook it with a lid, use a big kitchen mitt and a long-handled spoon to stir it.
We served this as a side for our Steak with gorgonzola sauce for Valentine’s Day, but you could easily whip this up and top it with shrimp (shrimp and grits y’all) or scallops.
If you find you have some leftover, you can let it firm up in a dish and then slice it and pan fry it, serving it with sauteed vegetables.
With most dishes, this is great for your timing while cooking. The polenta needs to cook for about 20 minutes covered, with just periodic stirring, which is perfect! Start the polenta first and then you can cook the rest of your meal while it burbles away on a back burner.
I like to cook mine in my Dutch Oven. The heat is evenly distributed, and it has a good sturdy lid, so I can start it on a front burner, then move it to a back burner for its cooking time.
Here’s what you will need:
- 1cup of water
- 1 cup of chicken stock
- 1/2 cup of milk
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup of Polenta (or grits)
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring the water, stock, and milk to a boil in a small Dutch oven.
- Stir in 3/4 teaspoons salt.
- Gradually sprinkle the polenta into the pan while whisking.
- Turn the heat to a very low simmer, cover & cook 25 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick, and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan,
- Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, cheese & additional salt if needed.
- Serve warm, sprinkled with additional cheese if desired.
L’Ecole No. 41 2017 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine comes from Washington’s largest AVA the Columbia Valley AVA. It covers a full 1/3 of the landmass of Washington. It is sourced from vineyards across this AVA that L’Ecole No. 41 has built a relationship with over the years.
You’ll find a blend of fruit from a few vineyards in here: Candy Mountain, Estate Seven Hills, Alder Ridge, Klipsun, Summit View, Bacchus & Dionysus, Pepper Bridge, Stone Tree, Loess, Yellow Jacket, Estate Ferguson & Stone Valley
100% Cabernet Sauvignon – 5,600 cases produced – $29.00 SRP
The parmesan in this dish makes it a perfect side to pair with a Cabernet Sauvignon.
*We received this wine as a media sample. No other compensation was received. All opinions are our own.
Polenta makes a great side dish in place of potatoes, rice, or pasta.
Polenta is simple but takes a little time. I love cooking it in my Dutch Oven. I can get other dishes going while it cooks, and the big heavy dutch oven lid keeps the splatter down.
You can also pour your finished polenta in a dish or pan and refrigerate it, then cut it when it is firm and pan fry it. I like to do this and serve it covered in sautéed vegetables.
- • 1 cup water
- • 1 cup of chicken stock
- • 1/2 cup milk
- • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- • 1/2 cup grits
- • 2 tablespoons butter
- • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Bring the water, stock, and milk to a boil in a small Dutch oven.
2. Stir in 3/4 teaspoons salt.
3. Gradually sprinkle the polenta into the pan while whisking.
4. Turn the heat to a very low simmer, cover & cook 25 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick, & begins to pull away from the sides of the pan,
5. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, cheese & additional salt if needed.
6. Serve warm, sprinkled with additional cheese.
Be careful! As polenta is cooking, it will bubble and blurp and can easily severely burn you. I try to use a long-handled wooden spoon and a big kitchen mitt when I'm stirring it, for safety.
Amount Per Serving Calories 133Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 25mgSodium 527mgCarbohydrates 9gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 5g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.