Reader question: I have a copy of your Glorious One-Pot Meals cookbook. I was wondering iChat you mean by dry polenta in some of our recipes? Do you mean cornmeal? Thank you. Love your cookbook by the way. I just got it on Monday and have already tried 3 recipes.
~Jennie D., Bradford, On. Canada
Hi Jennie. Thanks so much for writing. I’m thrilled to hear you are enjoying GOPMs! This is a great question.
About polenta: Honestly, I had never heard of “polenta” before spending a year in Italy in 1989. Italians traditionally slow-cook polenta on the stovetop with water or stock in a cast iron pot for a long time to create a porridge consistency, and then serve it topped with freshly grated Parmesano Romano. Lately, the trend is to shape the porridge into patties to fry in olive oil.
In Glorious One-Pot Meals, I use dry polenta that I find either in the bulk food bins at a natural grocers, or in a box near the rice in the regular grocery store. You can find it on Amazon, too. I do not use the prepared polenta that comes in a refrigerated tube because they contain additional ingredients that I may not want in my dinner.
I believe the difference between “polenta” and “cornmeal” is in the grind of the corn. Personally, I like the polenta in a Glorious One-Pot Meal to be from a course-grind rather than a fine grind because the finer the grind, the mushier the result, and I prefer a more toothsome polenta.