I have been making this polenta recipe for over 35 years, the entire life of my catering career. My one time partner, Julie Girard Miller, swore me to secrecy when she gave up this rendition way back when we were cooking out of her Lafayette, California kitchen. I have never given the recipe out, until now. Forgive me Julie but it's just too good to keep quiet about any longer. It is easy to make for a few or a crowd and I have never come across anyone who does not love it. It is not the normal stand over the stove and stir for hours, kind of polenta, it cooks up in only a few minutes! In my catering, I typically pour the polenta into individual ramekins to form timbales, removing them when they firm up and then re-heating them for the event. Cooked in milk with a bit of butter, cream and cheese, well you get the picture...this polenta is warm, creamy and delicious. Served as a side dish in timbale form or in a large, wide bowl covered with homemade meatballs in Marinara, this recipe is going to be your new favorite comfort food dish.
2 c whole milk
4 T unsalted butter
1/2 c yellow cornmeal or polenta
1/4 c heavy cream
3 oz grated jack cheese
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
Have everything ready to add before you start to heat the milk. You won't have time later.
I told you this was fast!
Heat milk and butter until butter has melted. Add the cornmeal in a steady stream, whisking to avoid lumps. Stir for a few minutes until the cornmeal starts to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the cream, cheese and salt and pepper. Pour into buttered ramekins to un-mold and serve later, serve immediately or keep warm over a pot of simmering water until ready to serve. (you will need to add a bit more milk or a little water to smooth out the polenta if you let it cool in the pan. Just whisk in either until warm and smooth.)
Roasted Meatballs in (store bought) Marinara
1 lb ground turkey (or beef sirloin)
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 lb ground pork sausage (such as Jimmy Dean's)
1 3/4 c dry seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 c freshly ground Asiago cheese (2 ounces)
1/2 c freshly ground Italian Parmesan cheese (2 ounces), plus extra for serving
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 t Kosher salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 c dry red wine, Chianti is good
1/4 c good olive oil
2 (32-ounce) jars good marinara sauce, such as Rao's
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
Place the turkey, pork and sausage in a large mixing bowl and lightly break up the meats with a fork. Add the bread crumbs, Asiago, Parmesan, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Add the eggs, wine and 1/4 c water, combine lightly but thoroughly.
Measure out 2 oz portions of the mixture (a 1/4 c dry measure works great) and roll each lightly into a ball. Place one inch apart on the prepared sheet pans. Brush the meatballs with the olive oil. Bake the meatballs for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly browned. Pour the marinara into a large pot and bring to a simmer. Carefully add the meatballs and simmer for 10 minutes, until heated through. Spoon a puddle of creamy polenta to one side of a shallow pasta bowl then top with a few meatballs and tomato sauce. These meatballs are great over spaghetti too, just toss cooked spaghetti with olive oil, salt and pepper, put in a shallow pasta bowl and spoon the meatballs and sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan and serve hot. Serves 8
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"