The Polenta Express

I just finished reading the Chowhound At Home Blog about No Fuss Polenta.  Most of the comments focused on stirring and slaving over cooking polenta with suggestions for electric cooker polenta, oven baked polenta and microwave polenta. Ok I know that cooking polenta is hard work and that his takes some dedication, anywhere from 30-45 minutes of almost constant stirring with the “polenta stick” (a wooden stirring stick called a mescola.).  My husband’s Nonna used to threaten him with the “polenta stick” if he misbehaved but of course as with all Italian grandmothers it was never put into action.

And I guess that’s why I think the home cooking of polenta should be done low and slow, stirring the bubbling pot then turning out the cooked polenta onto a wooden board or platter, smoothed over with a wet knife and covered with a tea towel until ready to serve. The purposeful cooking of food can be a great pleasure and a way to slow down the nano pace of life we all seem to be living as well as connect us to a tradition.  But sometimes I ‘d rather be out riding my Vespa than cooking polenta Nonna’s way. What I mean by that is, I’m working late or over extended. For polenta in pochi minuti, I like Molino Nicoli Polenta Svelta from Bergamo (the polenta capital of Italy). It is precooked by the producer and only requires 8 minutes prep time. My Milanese family and friends in Italy buy this polenta in a box when they want to make polenta the easy way.  And if you want an authentic easy to prepare boxed gnocchi try the pasta section at http://www.cosituttimarketplace.com