Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups Starters

Griddled Polenta Hearts

Polenta is a traditional staple dish in most of northern Italy. Nowadays it is most often prepared with finely ground cornmeal, although it can be prepared with many different grains and flours: have you tried our Buckwheat Polenta Mini-Cakes with Champignons yet?

The beauty of polenta is that it can be served in various ways: as porridge, baked, deep-fried, or griddled, like in this recipe!

Serves: 2 | Preparation time: 50 mins | Cooking time: 10 mins

  • Polenta: 250 g
  • Water: 1 l
  • Salt: ½ tbsp
  • Rosemary, fresh: 1 sprig
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): as needed
  • Parmesan, grated: to taste


Bring the water to boil in a pot and add the salt and the polenta. Stir carefully until the polenta has a smooth texture, then lower the heat and let it cook for about 50 minutes on very low heat. 

Remove the pot from the stove and let the polenta slide out of the pot onto a clean wooden cutting board. Use a wooden ladle to spread it evenly on the board (as in the picture below) and leave it to cool for 5 minutes. 

Once cold, the polenta becomes compact enough to be cut into little hearts using a cookie cutter. 

Heat up a drizzle of olive oil on a griddle and sprinkle some salt and rosemary leaves on top. Once the griddle is very hot and the rosemary is sizzling, place the polenta hearts on the griddle and leave them to cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. 

The polenta hearts are ready once golden on both sides; place them on a serving plate and garnish them with some grated parmesan. 

Tip: For a tastier polenta, you can use vegetable broth instead of salted water. If you want to make your broth from scratch, head over to this recipe: Easy Every-Day Vegetable Broth

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