No two polenta's are created equal. Here's a primer on the different kinds of polenta plus delicious seasonal recipes, both savory and sweet, featuring the grain.
Polenta is nothing short of a miracle grain. Don't believe that? Watch what happens when you stir just a little bit with water, milk, or cream. What was harsh, tiny granules transforms into something smooth, soothing, and delicious. It's also versatile in that it can be served when supple, perfect for accompanying stews and braises, or it can be chilled, baked, and even grilled and fried.
Here is a quick overview of different kinds of polenta (look for them at specialty markets or order them online). Look right for delicious recipes featuring polenta.
Taragna: Mixed with buckwheat, this polenta is the choice for rustic dishes and pairs well with stews (like this roast pork with polenta) and hearty ragus as well as roasted meats.
Fioretto: This finely ground yellow polenta is suited for cakes, biscuits and baked dishes with more delicately flavored ingredients.
Bramata: Coarsely ground yellow polenta is the most common style because it's versatile and durable. It works as well mixed with cheese and butter as it does baked or cut and sizzled into fries like these sweet ones.
Bianca: White polenta made from white corn is popular in Veneto for its creamy texture and smooth finish. because it has a finer grind and delicate flavor, the Venetians pair it with fish. It's also superb in this recipe as a base for sausage, mozzarella, and cheese.
Integrale: This cornmeal has an earthy flavor and natural health benefits resulting from the additions of wheat germ and fiber. Its coarse texture adds rustic texture to any polenta recipe. It's perfect for making polenta dumplings (called canederli).
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