Do you find yourself with leftovers anytime you make polenta? Instead of zapping them in the microwave, consider creating an entirely new, but equally delicious, meal — polenta cakes!
What is Polenta?
Polenta is an Italian staple, and it is amazingly versatile. It can be eaten so many ways that I can’t even count them all, but I’m happy and willing to try them all. Especially this style of polenta! Why you ask? Well, I was VERY excited when I was contacted recently by Scott who runs Sausage Debachery – Artisanal Italian Food Products.
This company pride itself on bringing unique, top-quality, imported Italian food products to the homes of its customers. They scour the entire Italian peninsula to find the rarest food products, from apple vinegar in the Dolomites to prickly pear jam from Sicily. They even offer kitchen gadgets (hello gnocchi board!).
In other words, they’re right up my alley.
Scott generously sent me some of his products, and the first one I tried was the La Grande Ruota Fioretto per Polenta.
I could tell I was going to love this straight away. It was the consistency I am used to, the smell, the color … everything. And let me tell you, this stuff is incredibly creamy! *Swoon*
Plus, it’s made in the Veneto region, which is very close to where I spent many years in Friuli.
How Do You Cook Polenta Cakes?
Polenta is typically cooked in a huge copper pot known as paiolo. Sadly, I do not have one of my own, so I used a very heavy bottom pot and, of course, a wooden spoon.
This does require some attention — *ehem* I mean LOVE — while cooking, which basically equates to lots of stirring. This is how I get my exercise, so I don’t mind. Plus, I know what’s coming at the end of all that stirring is well worth the effort.
If you didn’t want to make the polenta into cakes, just stop here and enjoy the creamy goodness after cooking.
How To Make a Circular, Perfect Polenta Cakes
To achieve those perfect circles, I used a cookie cutter or glass. TIP: Spray your glass with a little cooking spray prior to cutting the circles. This way, the glass just slides right off. (I won’t charge you for that one, lol.)
You can make the circles as small or as large as you like. Just remember the larger they are, the longer they’ll need to cook.
I served my polenta cakes with my Pollo al Marsala (aka Chicken Marsala). It was the perfect compliment to the luscious sauce of the Pollo al Marsala. All in all, it made for one happy plate.
- In a large heavy bottom sauce pan bring water to a rolling boil. Season heavily with salt.
- Gradually add cornmeal, and stir with a wooden spoon until well-combined.
- Reduce heat to low. Continue to cook until mixture thickens. Stirring often. Remove from heat and allow to cool (approximately 25 minutes)
- Spray a casserole dish with a small amount of cooking spray. Line dish with saran wrap and set aside.
- Check polenta for seasoning. Add salt to taste.
- Pour polenta into the plastic wrap-lined dish. Add another layer of plastic wrap on top, and smooth it down directly on top of the polenta.
- Place dish in refrigerator to chill until firm. 2 hours to overnight.
- When you are ready to make the polenta cakes. Lift the polenta out of the dish. Remove and discard plastic wrap. Place polenta onto a cutting board.
- Using a round cookie cutter or round glass, make 6 polenta circles “cakes.”
- Place a sauté pan over medium heat, and add approx. 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
- When oil is hot, carefully place the polenta circles into the pan. Cook until a golden crust has formed on both sides, turning as little as possible.
- When polenta cakes are nearly finished, season with a smidge of pepper and a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
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MORE RECIPES TO TRY
If you’ve enjoyed our polenta cakes, you’ll love these other recipes:
- Creamy Polenta with Mushroom Sauce
- Saffron Risotto Cakes
- Pan Fried Polenta Cakes
- Garlic Shrimp Risotto
- Coca-Cola Braised Short Ribs
It makes our day when you recreate any of our recipes. If you do, please consider leaving a star rating on this recipe, take a photo and TAG me on Instagram with #bellalimento. We would love to see them!