Parmesan Grits

A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet. And whether you call it “polenta” or “grits” [or a name of your own invention], a bowl of creamy, garlicky corn pudding just tastes good. Polenta is an flavorful, creamy base for just about anything – stews, sauces, sauteed vegetables, or our BBQ black eyed peas. Leftover polenta is incredible the next morning with a fried or poached egg on top.

If you can make oatmeal, you can make polenta. The only trick is to stir quite frequently to prevent clumping and burning the bottom of the pot. If you’re preparing for a crowd, know that polenta will take an hour or more to cook thoroughly.


stock pot or electric roaster/crock pot, whisk, microplane

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 1 cup coarse cornmeal
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • 2 T. unsalted butter
  • 2 T. garlic


  1. Whisk the cornmeal and water together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer. Whisk in cream and cook for about 30 minutes, whisking every few minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the grains are very soft.
  2. Right before serving, use a microplane to finely grate the garlic into the hot polenta. Make sure to wait to add the cheese until the polenta is fully cooked. Add in cheese, and salt to taste, stirring gently until incorporated.


Need to free up stovetop space? An electric oven or turkey roaster works well to heat evenly and slowly, or start it in a crock pot early in the day. You can save cooking time by soaking the polenta overnight or a few hours before cooking – add all the total water to soak, and after bringing it to a simmer, add the cream at the cooking stage.


Whisk, baby, whisk. There really can’t be too many cooks in the kitchen looking out for the bottom of a polenta pan. Whenever you pass the polenta, give it a whisk, making sure to get to the bottom so it doesn’t stick and burn! For an extra challenge [or to double as your workout for the day], use your non-dominant arm to whisk – work that bicep!