Polenta: A Completely Different Thing Than Grits
Note that both polenta and grit are made from corn but of different types. The texture is completely different but also the flavor is unique for each of the two preparations. Polenta is made from ground field corn, while grits is made from ground hominy (nixtamàl), which is nixtamalized corn (limewater treated corn).Thanks to the nixtamalization grit dough has a different consistencies, elasticity and stickiness.
Polenta is one of the classic dishes of the regions of northern-central Italy and is very related to the traditions of mountain villages. Polenta is a poor but very good and satisfying dish. Originally it was prepared with spelled or rye, today it is mainly made with corn: polenta, in fact, has become as we know it after the discovery of America, when corn also arrived in Italy. It is a very versatile dish thanks to its neutral flavor that makes it possible to combine it with sauces based on meat, sausages, melted cheese, fish (cod and stockfish) and of cause mushroom and truffle.
Here you are the classical Polenta recipe.
(for 4 servings)
4 cups water (5 for soft consistency)
1 cup medium or fine cornmeal
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1) Bring water to the boil and add salt
2) Combine the flour a little at a time, whipping vigorously with a whisk during the first few minutes of cooking to dissolve the lumps.
3) Then lower the flame to a minimum and continue stirring slowly (to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pot) for 30 minutes with a wooden spoon (add 1 cup of water if the consistency is too thick)
4) Add the butter at the end as the polenta has a creamy consistency.
5) Tradition would like the polenta to be poured on a wooden cutting board and serve it cut into very hot slices accompanied with stewed meat or seasoned with melted cheese or meat sauces or mushrooms or truffles.