We are talking Italian cuisine all week, here at The Kitchn, but we admit that it's been a little pasta-heavy so far. So let's turn our attention to the other two starchy dishes that Italians have perfected, and that we love exceedingly: Polenta and risotto.
Polenta, of course, is a simple dish made with fine or coarse cornmeal (you can make it with pretty much any cornmeal in your kitchen) and as such it's the European cousin of grits. It's cooked in boiling water, milk, or stock, and it makes a wonderful base for toppings of spicy greens, pulled meats, or sauces.
Risotto is the stirred rice dish that has a reputation for being quite finicky — but honestly, we've never had a truly awful risotto. Almost any rice, cooked gradually in boiling chicken or vegetable stock and finished with cheese, is going to be great.
Here are a few favorite polenta and risotto dishes from our archives — we're looking forward to revisiting these even more frequently as the weather cools.
10 Delicious Polenta and Risotto Dishes
• 1. Polenta Bar - Maybe the best way to eat polenta — with a mixture of different toppings. We like this no-stir polenta recipe from Marcella Hazan as a base.
• 2. Parmesan Polenta with Eggs and Roasted Mushrooms - An entry from last year's Quick Weeknight Meals competition, and an inspired combination of toppings for polenta.
• 3. Borlotti Beans in Tomato Sauce with Creamy Polenta - A fabulous vegan-adaptable recipe from Steve Sando's Heirloom Beans.
• 4. Fried Eggs and Collard Greens Over Polenta - Simple and hearty.
• 5. Polenta with Andouille and Broccoli Rabe - We like using extra-spicy sausage in this.
• 6. Red Pepper, Sausage, and Chard Risotto - A simple, smoky one-dish meal that makes fabulous leftovers.
• 7. Mushroom and Leek Risotto - We love risotto's capacity to absorb and blend favorite flavors and elements, like the mushrooms and leeks here.
• 8. Black Olive Risotto - With duck breast! A treat from David Leite's Portuguese cookbook.
• 9. Spring Lemon Risotto with Asparagus and Fiddlehead Ferns - Fresh and snappy, creamy and light.
• 10. Risotto with Squash and Sage - A recipe to take you straight into fall.
What's your favorite risotto, or polenta dish?
(Images: See linked posts for full image credits.)