Creamy Mascarpone Polenta

Poltena is a delicious, creamy side on its own right, but with more cream, butter, and some luxuriously rich mascarpone, you have a very rich side dish indeed.

Creamy Mascarpone Polenta

This is a very simple dish and something of a blank canvas for anything you’d like to color it with (sort of like risotto–the awesome rice that demands equally awesome additions). My reason for keeping it simple will be clear in the next post (I served this as a side-dish), but if you’d like your polenta to stand out more, you’ve got many options: mushrooms, squash, beans, greens, ham, formed and deep fried–it all works and works wonderfully. Heck, you could even employ it in desserts. But additions aside, polenta, at its core, is simply boiled cornmeal, cooked and whipped so as to be light, puffy, and creamy, sort of like having a rich porridge that ever so faintly resembles cornbread. Its a good, comforting side dish that leaves a lot of room for experimentation and takes very little money and effort to prepare (ah, the best kind of side dish!).

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mascarpone

Keep on stirring

Preparing polenta is almost surprisingly simple. The only nuisance (like risotto) is that you need to be close by so that you can give it semi-constant attention. So to get started: set out a saucepan and fill it with both the milk and water (you could go all milk or all water for more/less creaminess) and heat this until boiling.

Now, add in some salt and pepper and measure out the cornmeal. Start stirring constantly, and slowly, add in the cornmeal, whisking and stirring to break any lumps and get it fully incorporated. Keep doing this until you get all of the cornmeal in there and in a fairly homogenous mixture. You might really need to beat this with a whisk if you’re having trouble breaking up any clumps.


Now, drop the heat to a low/low-medium simmer, add in the butter, and stir. Set a timer, as this should be done somewhere around 20-30 minutes. You don’t need to stir non-stop, but don’t leave this unattended for a long time without stirring or you won’t get the creamy, fluffy polenta you so desire (and if you don’t get that, really, why bother boiling cornmeal? Because that alone doesn’t sound appetizing, whereas polenta does).

In the last few minutes of cooking, incorporate the mascarpone. Stir just until fully mixed and double-check the seasoning, adjusting to taste before you give this your blessing. Unless you have further plans for this (e.g. deep-frying, in which case you should cool it, form shapes, freeze, etc), serve the polenta immediately and enjoy!

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18 Responses to “Creamy Mascarpone Polenta”

  1. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) Says:

    So rich and wonderful! Now, what did you serve this with? I’m thinking that something like short ribs would be an over-the-top delicious combination.

  2. Pam Says:

    Yum! I’ve added parmesan and other cheeses to polenta, with great results, but I bet mascarpone would be so rich and creamy!

  3. Bellini Valli Says:

    What a wonderful creaminess the mascarpone would give Mike 😀

  4. Toni Says:

    Home made polenta is to die for. Simple, yes. But as you said – what a great canvas for showcasing other ingredients!

    Now….with Marscapone cheese…….I can envision some mushrooms in a divine sauce ladled over the top, giving that polenta something to soak up. I’m looking forward to the next post to see what you came up with!

  5. Nina Says:

    Bring on the lamb shanks….oh my gosh I can taste this…….

  6. holler Says:

    I have never tried polenta before. You certainly make it sound more appealing with that gorgeous mascarpone. Lovely jubbly!

  7. Nora Says:

    I’ve not tried polenta with mascarpone, it looks nice & creamy. Something to book mark for winter when I will crave for such comforting foods.

  8. megan Says:

    I love polenta and whats not to love about Mascarpone. I will be trying this real soon! Dogeared.

  9. Mansi Says:

    Aaah! that looks so pretty Mike! I can eat anything with mascarpone cheese! just love it!:)

  10. Anali Says:

    This looks great! I need to get some mascaropone cheese!

  11. mike Says:

    Lydia — thanks! You were close, as you’ve now seen, osso bucco was the mystery date. 😉

    Pam — those sound like great additions as well. I think I’m making up for lost time–mascarpone was somehow only a recent discovery for me and I love using it in place of cream.

    Bellini — that it does! Just a nice little twist in place of straight up cream.

    Toni — mushrooms would be a great addition and I really wanted to add them. It might have been too strong for this particular dinner, but next time, this definitely gets mushrooms.

    Nina — *drool* that would be an excellent thing to put right on top of this

    holler — definitely worth a try one day! Its a simple side dish and good with saucey dishes as its a wonderful “sponge” so that you can enjoy every last bit of your plate.

    Nora — it was! A nice, full profile. Plus, you get to dip into the mascarpone for a scoop during cooking. 😉

    megan — welcome! Thanks and I hope it goes well, let me know!

    Mansi — same here! And thanks! :-)

    Anali — thanks! Definitely a handy cheese to have, er, handy! 😉

  12. white on rice couple Says:

    I’m excited about this, really I am. I have been wanting my polenta to be a bit creamier, and thought about using milk. But mascarpone is so much better!! Thank you for the great blog and the addition of mascarpone!

  13. mike Says:

    white — welcome and thanks! I almost used cream, but something about using mascarpone is just more fun…I hope to see you again, thanks for visiting!

  14. katie Says:

    I can only get instant polenta here – done in about 5 minutes. Still, that lovely marscapone would take even that to new heights!

  15. mike Says:

    Katie — doh! Although I have to admit, 5 minutes sounds much more attractive than 30 minutes of stirring. 😉

  16. Charles Hernandez Sr Says:

    Had a taste of some creamy lightly sweet polenta at a very good Italion restaurant in Richmond Ca never had polenta before and couldnt get it out of my mind finally found polenta I followed instruction used cream cheese and a little parm but didnt like it nothing like the one I had at the restaurant

  17. perros Says:

    Hello I candy there, simply turned into alert to your weblog through Google, and located that it is really informative. Yo tengo un espacio en la red de perros, y estoy muy feliz de que haya muchos mas por internet. bsos

  18. Ann Says:

    I need to make polenta for 4. Will this be enough, or do I need to double it?

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