Parmesan Polenta… Barefoot Contessa style!

I was laying in bed and instead of watching the usual morning programmes switched over to food network to get me going for the day. It wasn’t my usual favourite The Pioneer Woman on but Barefoot Contessa. I am a fan of both but I usually always feel like Ina’s recipes will be a little more challenging than Ree’s. She was recreating a meal that they had during their time in Italy, a lover of Italian dishes I continued to watch and ignore both my stomach rumbling and the alarm clock calling me to work.

The main was baked fish with herbs and the side was Parmesan Polenta, I watched, I drooled and I text my boyfriend Rob to see if he fancied it for dinner sometime. He did. As some of you may know he is South African and told me ALL about how polenta was “pap” just dyed a different colour and even though we agreed to disagree about the grain itself we definitely agreed that we would both like to try Ina’s dish.

Parmesan Polenta

I didn’t serve it with fish, we grilled some turkey breasts which I topped with sun-dried tomato pesto (shop bought) and we had Tenderstem broccoli on the side.

The one thing I will say about making this side is; it has to have your full attention. But it is worth it, I promise.

What you need;

  • 950ml chicken stock (I used 2 Kello organic low in salt chicken stock cubes)
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 340g of Polenta
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 340g of grated Parmesan
  • 20g Creme fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

What you need to do;

  • First step is to put the stock & garlic into a medium-sized pan and bring to a boil over a medium to high heat.
  • Reduce the heat to a medium heat and whisk in the polenta lovingly to make sure that there are no lumps. (Skip any arm exercises on the day you are intending to make this, I don’t know about you but I count whisking continuously for around 5 minutes as a work out ;)!)
  • Put the whisk down (yey!) but pick up a wooden spoon (ergh more stirring!), add the salt & pepper and continue to stir continuously for around 10 minutes until it starts to thicken. (This is why I said skip the morning workout!)
  • It was very difficult to tell when the polenta was done so I asked for advice from the pap connoisseur and apparently the way to tell when it is cooked is when you can no longer take any grain and the polenta is smooth.
  • Once you think it is done, you think your arms are about to give in and you no longer taste a grainy texture remove the polenta from the heat.
  • Add the parmesan, creme fraiche and unsalted butter, mix well until it has all melted together and once again a smooth texture.
  • Serve with vegetables, meat/fish/vegetarian alternative and enjoy 🙂

Original recipe is from

This was a really nice change to the usual sides that we have, I would definitely make it again and was still good for my lunch the next day. I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did 🙂


Hayley xxx

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