Polenta is the mashed potatoes of Northern Italy and it serves much the same role, soaking up rich sauces and gravies.
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/3 cups instant polenta
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 tablespoons crème fraîche or thickened cream
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Directions Preparation:10min › Cook:10min › Extra time:5min › Ready in:25min
Bring 1 litre of water to the boil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the oil and a pinch of salt. Gradually tip in the polenta, reduce the heat to a simmer and stir vigorously and continuously with a long-handled wooden spoon for about 5 minutes until the mixture is thick and all the water has been absorbed. Stand back as you do this, as polenta splutters dramatically.
Scrape the polenta away from the side of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat, cover with a lid and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Remove the lid from the pan and add thin slices of butter, the Parmesan and the crème fraîche or cream to the polenta. Season to taste and mix together until the butter and cheese have melted and the polenta is creamy. Scoop into a serving dish and serve hot.