Polenta By the Yard

Chef Michael Chiarello takes inspiration from ancient Tuscany for this new-old, communal-eating experience.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 16
KEY: Christmas, Dinner Party, Game Day, Italian, Side Dishes, Staff Favorites, Vegetarian, Dinner

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Ingredients

  • 18 cups water
  • 6 cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 cups fine-ground polenta (not instant)
  • 2 cups shredded imported Fontina cheese (6 ounces)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Sausages and Peppers
  • Quick Bolognese Sauce, prepared pesto and prepared marinara sauce, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. Line a heatproof table with butcher paper. In a very large pot, combine the water with the heavy cream, season with salt and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in the polenta and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, whisking constantly. Cook the polenta over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until thick, creamy and no longer gritty, about 30 minutes. Stir in the Fontina and Parmigiano-Reggiano until melted, then stir in the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Immediately pour the polenta onto the butcher paper and invite guests to grab spoons and forks, add toppings and dive in. Pass additional Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table.

Serve With

Sausage and peppers, or top with Bolognese sauce, marinara sauce or pesto sauce.

Contributed By Photo © Christina Holmes Published December 2013

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