Grits are a close cousin of the more commonly known polenta. And by close, I mean first cousins, raised together, possibly in the same house—and heck, maybe they even secretly have the same father. That's how similar the two are. I almost always choose grits over polenta (I am from the South!), but every once in a while I like to go with the creamier texture of polenta.
Various preparations of polenta, or cornmeal mush, can be found worldwide. Here in the U.S.—and more specifically, in my home—it's often used in Italian-inspired dishes such as the one here.
My polenta is spiked with a few vegetables to give a little contrast to the texture and then topped with a homemade tomato sauce that I also use for Spaghetti and Soy Meatballs. I finished off the dish with a few sautéed veggies of choice—and this time I chose mushrooms, onions, and spinach. One tip for making the dish more savory is to replace some of the water with vegetable stock, or just add a little "No Chicken Base" Better Than Bouillon. The result is a little richer and very comforting.
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup coarse polenta
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
1 cup cooked corn
1 carrot, peeled and grated
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
•In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Stir in the polenta and cornmeal, reduce the temperature to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring often.
•Add the corn, carrots, and olive oil and simmer on low for an additional 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Makes 4 to 5 servings
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