Polenta with parmesan and rosemary
This recipe is very quick if you use instant polenta, which needs only 5 minutes on the stove before going into the oven. The key to success is in the freshness of the ingredients.
Do not use pre-grated parmesan of the kind you may find in a supermarket. It is inevitably stale. Instead, buy a chunk of parmesan and grate it yourself. I’ve found this works best when you use the small holes of the grater, as though you were grating a carrot — and not the tiny holes for cheese, which are inefficient. Fresh rosemary is also a plus — but if you cannot find it, dried rosemary also works well.
This polenta may be served alongside roasted meats or vegetables, or on its own at snacktime.
5 cups (1-1/4 liter) water
1 tsp. sea salt
2 cups (250 g.) instant polenta
1 cup (60 g.) freshly grated parmesan
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
Bring the water to a boil with the sea salt.
Pour the polenta into the boiling water in a thin stream, stirring with a wooden spoon as you go. Turn the heat down to low. Continue stirring for five minutes — if lumps form, switch to a wire whip to break them up. Remove from heat.
Transfer the polenta to a mixing bowl. Add about 2/3 of the grated parmesan, reserving the rest. Stir well to mix. Add the rosemary, butter, olive oil and salt, and stir again. Grind in a generous amount of black pepper. Stir.
Butter a pie pan or gratin dish. Pour the polenta into the dish and allow to sit for at least one hour. This will harden it up a bit.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 (400 F, 200 C).
Bake for about an hour, or until the parmesan has melted and the polenta is golden. The time will vary according to the size of your baking dish, so start checking after about 40 minutes.
Allow the polenta to cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing it into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8.