Who knew that cornmeal can camouflage into something so luscious and dreamy? I once thought it was only sprinkled on the bottom of pizza crusts, but alas, creamy polenta has come into my life and it shall never leave.
I’ve only had this one time before, and I’m sorry to say, it was bad. The polenta was runny and bland, and the waiter was non-existent. And guess where it was….Spago in Beverly Hills! The Wolgang Puck’s famous (or infamous) restaurant! Uhh…do you know who we are? We are FOODIES? Hello! Sorry, I didn’t drive up in a Maserati and No, I’m not wearing Louboutin’s, but I’m a food snob and I expect my food be be damn good. (PS..the hubby knows Puck’s left-hand, and knew him before he was anyone…just sayin’). Out of the several times we’ve been there, that was the only time we had a bad experience, and Puck hooked us up the next time…so Spago-goers..don’t stop going, it is still a fabulous spot.
Now back to this mouthwatering treat. A super easy side-dish to throw together, the rustic cornmeal transforms into a thick and exquisite blank canvas for any main course (think meatballs and marinara, grilled fish). Whisked with Parmesan cheese and just a touch of heavy cream to bring it all together.
Serves 3-4 people
1/2 c cornmeal
2 c chicken stock (or veg stock)
2 fresh garlic cloves, chopped
fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 Tb heavy cream
Olive oil for drizzling
Salt and pepper, to taste
1) In a small pot, drizzle with olive oil and begin to caramelize your garlic for about 2-3 minutes. But don’t burn. Add in thyme and red pepper flakes, cook for a minute.
2) Add chicken stock and allow to boil. When stock is boiling, slowly add in the cornmeal WHILE whisking.
Turn stove to med-low.
3) Continue to whisk until polenta thickens, for a good 5 minutes, making sure there are no lumps and scraping the bottom and sides of pot.
4) Grate in fresh Parmesan cheese and stir in heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper.