It’s common, comforting and cheap.
Basically, polenta, a staple from Northern Italy, is made from cornmeal. Polenta usually gets cooked low and slow on the stove with any combination of water, milk, cream and butter. And even better, it’s a low-cost addition to, or star of, a filling meal!
Polenta can be eaten as a side or used in a variety of recipes, Italy-based chef Semone Noel explains.
Not only is it tasty, you might be surprised to learn that polenta is packed with nutrients. Polenta is rich in fibre and protein, and although it doesn’t contain large amounts of vitamins and minerals, it does contain some vitamin A — a powerful antioxidant essential for the immune system and many bodily functions.
Fibre is also recommended to keep the digestive system functioning properly, to feed healthy gut bacteria, and to prevent constipation. It can also help you lose weight, lower cholesterol, and decrease your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Polenta is a tasty alternative to wheat-based staple foods as it’s made from corn, making it naturally gluten free — and like most starchy foods, it’s a great energy provider.
“It doubles in its volume once cooked, so a small amount can feed many,” Semone adds.
In addition to its health benefits, the complex carbohydrates in polenta helps stabilise blood sugar levels while giving you sustained energy.
Creamy, chilled, baked or fried, polenta can be made in a variety of recipes.
“It can be used to make porridge, cakes, puddings and almost everything in between,” Semone explains. “Here in Italy, polenta is made using water or stock then olive oil and high quality Reggiano Parmesan to finish.”
She said polenta can also be cooked until firm, cut into squares for grilling, baking or frying.
Sounds tasty? Here’s a delicious polenta recipe to try!