No… don’t take this as me succumbing to the pumpkin bandwagon. As a matter of fact, you’ll find no pumpkin in this recipe whatsoever. This is really just a recipe that uses pumpkin pie spice and that’s only because I was too lazy and hungry to go about making my own spice mix for the polenta. Still interested? Read on.
I’ve been trying to be more adventurous lately and try new foods. I’d pass the polenta recipe in my cookbook because it didn’t look appealing. Then when I read the ingredients it was even LESS appealing: water and cornmeal? Where was the spice, the flavor, the mouth happiness ingredients? Who would even invent such a recipe?
Then it dawned on me that this was a base for something spectacular. I could make it taste however I wanted with whatever I added to it. I could make it into a beautiful swan on my plate instead of an ugly duckling. So the polenta transformation began. Giada De Laurentiis is starting to become my Paula Deen on Food Network’s website. She gets good reviews and unlike Paula, I’m not always worried about triple bypass surgery in 10 years.
If you don’t have vanilla salt, click here and make some right now. To almost recreate the same flavor, add ½ teaspoon of vanilla to the polenta.
adapted from Food Network
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla salt
- ⅞ cups yellow cornmeal
- 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Lightly grease a loaf pan and set aside.
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the vanilla salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring constantly, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the butter, pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar. Stir until the butter and brown sugar are completely melted. Pour the polenta into the prepared loaf pan. Let cool to room temperature and freeze or refrigerate until firm.
Remove the polenta from the freezer or refrigerator. Slice into ½- to 1-inch pieces. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Melt a little butter in the pan. Add the sliced polenta and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip the polenta and fry on the other side until golden brown. Serve hot with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, maple syrup or your favorite topping.