Polenta is one of my favorite side dishes especially as the weather starts to cool down. It has the magical ability to take any dish and instantly make it comfort food. Roasted vegetables, slow cooked meats, pan roasted chicken - you name the dish, it almost always can work over a bed of warm and creamy polenta.
While there are lots of ways to prepare polenta, I almost always make it on the stove top using a combination of vegetable/chicken broth and milk. This keeps the calories in check but adds plenty creaminess from the milk. If you haven't cooked polenta before, the first ten minutes of cooking polenta are the most important as you whisk and whisk and whisk some more to make sure the polenta is smooth. Then it just needs to be occasionally stirred as it continues to cook. The longer it you cook it, the more voluminous it will become, but I find around 30 minutes is the sweet spot. To finish up the dish, just stir in the fresh basil, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Delicious.
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