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What Is Polenta?

When it comes to fantastic cuisines, they don’t just take one form. Other countries and cities will usually take a time-honored traditional cuisine and add their own spin to it. Italian cuisine isn’t a stranger to this idea, as a good percentage of their cuisines are adapted from other countries’ recipes. Some variations only change a few tiny details, and some completely rewrite the structure. Polenta is one of these variations, but what is it a variation of? How much did they change from the original recipe? We answer these questions below!

Polenta As A Dish

So, what is polenta? It’s actually a variation of cornmeal that – no surprise here – originated in Italy. It can be served in a variety of ways, so no two versions of this recipe will be the same. The most popular way to serve this dish is to boil it. There are other ways to make it however; you can serve it as a porridge, or you can allow the polenta to solidify and bake or broil it for a satisfying taste. Whether creamy or firm, polenta works best as an appetizer in an Italian meal.

Variations and Uses

As we previously discussed, there are plenty of ways that you can make polenta, and each one of them has a separate use. Soft polenta works best as an appetizer. It can be used as a substitute for pasta and risotto as it pairs surprisingly well with pasta sauces. If you’re making a firmer version of the recipe, their best uses are a little different. Harder polenta is best used as a hors d’oeuvres, toppings for desserts like pie, and as a filling for casseroles. Such a simple dish can be used in a variety of settings!

Cornmeal vs. Polenta

 Something that you may have noticed immediately about polenta is how similar it is to cornmeal. So, what exactly makes it different from cornmeal? Both products are made almost exclusively from grain, after all. What makes them so different is how the grain is prepared. Cornmeal’s grain content is far more finely ground than polenta, which means that it can be even soupier depending on how you prepare it! Polenta is more coarsely ground, which helps out with its versatility.

Polenta at Bricco

If you’re curious to see what makes polenta so versatile, Bricco can give you a taste! Our main specialty is Italian cuisine, and you’ll understand exactly why when you take your first bite. Your taste buds will be transported to the heart of Italy itself! To get that experience to yourself, click here to make a reservation with us!