ingredient information
Polenta is a dish made from boiled cornmeal. Although the word "polenta" is borrowed into English from Italian, and it is a traditional staple food throughout much of Northern Italy, the same dish (under various names) is also found in Slovenian, Savoyard, Swiss, the American South[1], Austrian, Portuguese, Bosnian, Croatian,[2] Cuban, Hungarian,[3] Serbian,[4] Romanian,[5] Bulgarian, Georgian, Corsican, Argentine, Uruguayan, Brazilian, Peruvian, Venezuelan, Haitian, Mexican and Turkish[6] cuisines. Polenta is made with ground yellow or white cornmeal (ground maize). It can be ground coarsely or finely depending on the region and the texture desired. As it is known today, polenta derives from earlier forms of grain mush (known as puls or pulmentum in Latin or more commonly as gruel or porridge) commonly eaten in Roman times and after. Early forms of polenta were made with such starches as the grain farro and chestnut flour, both of which are still used in small quantity today. When boiled, polenta has a smooth creamy texture due to the gelatinization of starch in the grain, though it may not be completely homogeneous if a coarse grind or a particularly hard grain such as flint corn is used. Polenta was originally and still is a peasant food. However, since the late 20th century, polenta has also become a premium product. Polenta dishes are on the menu in many high-end restaurants, and prepared polenta can be found in supermarkets at high prices. Many current polenta recipes have given new life to an essentially bland and common food, invigorating it with various cheeses or tomato sauces.