When it was brought from America to Europe in the 16th century, polenta became a major dish for Italian peasants. Over the years, it was combined with other products and today it is offered in the most expensive restaurants.
Preparation: Pour the flour in 4 1/5 cups of boiling water while stirring nonstop. Salt to taste and boil until ready - until it starts to come off the walls and bottom. Add the grated cheese and stir carefully.
Pour the mixture into an oiled tray. Leave it for 20 min. in a warm area until it hardens. Then invert it onto a large plate and pour on the melted butter.
Normally, in traditional Italian cuisine, polenta is used as a garnish or as a stand-alone dish with other ingredients added - meat, mushrooms, fish, fried or baked. Besides salted, there is also sweet polenta.
Preparation: Bring the milk and butter to a boil in a pot. Season with salt and add the cornmeal. Stir energetically with a stirrer or wooden spoon for about 2 min. on low heat.
Pour the polenta out onto baking paper on the counter and form a ball. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a thin circle. Using a spatula, smooth out the edges.
Transfer the circle with the baking paper into a tray. Garnish with your favorite pizza ingredients. Bake in a preheated 392°F (200°C) oven until reddened.
Polenta with Tomatoes, Cheese and Herbs
Ingredients: 2 cups of cooked polenta, cooled, 1/4 cup grated parmesan, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 10 dried tomatoes, 3.5 oz feta cheese, 1 fresh tomato, 8-10 black olives without the pits, 2 tablespoons fresh or 1 tablespoon dried herbs of your choice (basil, thyme, oregano).
Distribute the mixture into a small tray, press down on the edges with a fork. Finely chop the dried tomatoes, cut the feta into thin slices and arrange them on top. Cut the fresh tomato into strips and arrange those on top. Decorate with the olives. Bake this for 30 min. until crisped. Before serving, sprinkle on the herbs.