Baked polenta with cheese is a rustic and very easy dish to prepare. The fine taste and texture of the polenta are enhanced by piquant parmesan.
The traditional polenta is cooked with only water and cornflour, a recipe that dates back centuries. It is one of those dishes that haven’t lost its popularity in the modern-day thanks to its good taste and easy preparation. Seasoned with only butter and some salt, polenta is ideal to accompany meat stews, fish as well as vegetable dishes. You can serve the polenta as a side dish for recipes such as the Pork Chops with Mushrooms Stew, Creamy Garlicky Shrimp Parmesan, or the Roasted Bell Pepper in Creamy Tomato Sauce.
The recipe I will share with you today is baked polenta with lots of cheese and butter, a dish to serve alone. The ricotta cheese and the parmesan enrich and enhance the flavor of polenta. Moreover, when baked in the oven, the cheeses added on top of polenta give it a racy flavor and a very inviting face.
How to cook polenta?
The cooking of baked polenta consists of two steps. The first is boiling the polenta, then, obviously, baking it with cheeses. To cook the polenta itself, fill a large pot with water and salt it. The ratio to follow when cooking polenta is 1:3, meaning that 1 part of cornflour needs 3 parts of water to properly cook. Bring the water to a boil; remember that the water reaches its boiling point faster when the pan is covered with a lid.
As soon as the water boils, remove the lid and pour in cornflour a little at a time. Stir with a whisk or a wooden spoon while pouring the cornflour. Gradually add all the flour, mixing all the way through.
Boil polenta on low heat for about 15 minutes. It will not be fully cooked, but it is exactly what we’re looking for. The polenta will get cooked thoroughly in the oven. While on the stove, the polenta must simmer slowly and “puff”. Finally, turn off the stove, add in 1 tbsp of butter, and mix. We’re now ready to get to the second and final part of the preparation of the baked polenta recipe.
Why stir polenta so often?
Stirring the polenta during the entire cooking time is very important. It helps to avoid the formation of lumps. Mixing guarantees a perfect polenta, in the end, one with a homogeneous and smooth consistency. When mixing, make sure you don’t miss the bottom of the pan. Also, make circular motions for best and smoother results.
How to bake polenta?
To bake polenta, use bakeware such as ramekins or, for a more rustic look, use clay pots. Place a small piece of butter on the bottom, then pour the hot polenta on top, about 2 full tablespoons. Top the polenta with ricotta cheese just as much to cover the surface of the polenta. Then grate some parmesan cheese on top. Cover the cheeses with another portion of polenta, and finally, grate parmesan to finalize the work. Be generous with the parmesan, you know how good it is when baked.
Bake polenta with cheeses in a preheated oven at 360F for 15 minutes or until you see a golden top. You can turn the fan on for a few last minutes of the baking.
How to serve baked polenta?
Polenta does not have a particularly strong flavor, so you can enrich the taste with everything you like most. It goes very well with mushrooms, Parmesan, slices of salami, as well as with tasty meat stews. However, it is a polenta dish that you can serve alone because the taste is enhanced by butter, ricotta, and parmesan. You can serve it with a refreshing salad such as the Country-Style Tomato Salad or the Roasted Bell Pepper Salad with Feta.
Baked Polenta with Cheese
- 1 cup polenta
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup shredded parmesan
- 2/3 cup ricotta cheese
- 3 tbsp butter
- Fill a large pot with water and salt it
- Cover the pot with a lid, and bring water to a boil
- Gradually add in the cornflour, stirring constantly
- Reduce heat to low and allow the polenta to simmer slowly for 15 minutes
- Stir often
- In the meantime preheat the over to 360F
- When the polenta is halfway cooked (the indicated 15 minutes), turn off the stove
- Use bakeware such as ramekins or clay pots to bake polenta
- Put a piece of butter on the bottom of the baking dish
- Pour 2 tablespoons of polenta at the bottom
- Cover polenta with ricotta and parmesan
- Add more polenta on top of the cheese
- Cover with lots of sherdded/grated parmesan
- Insert the pots into the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 360F
- If the parmesan doesn't go golden by when the time expires, turn on the fan and cook for an additional couple of minutes
- Remove from oven and serve with pleasure