Polenta is one of those hearty comforts--warm, soft, and so buttery--that even us non-Italians love. For me, I love the texture. It's like a cozy blanket on a cold day. I like to add a little bit of substance to my polenta with finely chopped broccoli and a ton of pecorino. This is a delicious side with roast chicken or salmon, but it's also wonderful by itself with a poached egg on top. Enjoy!
||For perfectly creamy polenta, you need the perfect, slow-cooking polenta. Bob's Red Mill makes my favorite. Consistently delicious and easy to make, this takes all of the intimidation out of making this old-school Italian classic. Corn Grits Polenta, $10, Bob's Red Mill.
1 pound broccoli (one big stalk)
1 3/4 cups milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup coarse ground grits (I used Bob's Red Mill grits. Cornmeal or polenta will also work)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
A handful of freshly grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
(serves 2 to 4
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat.
2. Cut across the broccoli to separate the crown of florets from the stalk. With a vegetable peeler, peel the stalk, removing the thick, tough skin.
3. Add the stalk to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes.
4. Add the florets and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Drain the florets and stalks in a sieve or colander, reserving a cup of water from the pot.
5. Run the broccoli under cold running water to stop the cooking. Drain well.
6. Roughly chop the florets and stalks.
7. Combine the 1 cup of water used to cook the broccoli with the milk, garlic, and chicken broth in a medium pot. Bring to a simmer over high heat.
8. Add the polenta gradually, whisking constantly.
9. When the mixture starts to boil rapidly, reduce the heat to medium-low, until the mixture is at a steady, but not too vigorous, bubble and switch to a wooden spoon.
10. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes, then stir in the chopped broccoli florets and stalks.
11. Continue cooking, stirring often and scraping the sides of the pan with a heatproof rubber spatula, until the polenta is no longer grainy and the broccoli florets are super tender, about 10 minutes.
12. Stir in the butter and pecorino. Season with salt and pepper.
13. To serve, transfer to a platter or individual bowls and drizzle the surface with olive oil and shower it with more pecorino. Serve warm.
For more culinary inspiration, head to The Kitchy Kitchen
Photographs: Claire Thomas