You can start a festive dinner with this creamy mozzarella polenta, which we have enriched with some smoked bacon and cheddar cheese to melt in your mouth. This delicious recipe can be an excellent appetizer for dinner, and the main course for lunch with a salad or can be eaten as a side dish.
Table of Contents
- Why We Love the Cheesy Polenta
- Preparing the Ingredients
- How to Make the Creamy Mozzarella Polenta?
- Serving the Dish
- Follow Us
It is said that polenta has its origins in northern Italy, from where it has spread throughout the world. However, in our country in Transylvania, in the past, polenta was the staple food of Romanians and the mountain population, especially shepherds.
It was the bread substitute and was consumed with all dishes. After that, it slowly became a menu in itself, especially with different cheeses made in the oven or on the fire, being present even today in Romanian restaurants.
Why We Love the Cheesy Polenta
Our family’s tastes are divided; some people like polenta, others don’t. However, it is present in our menu because:
- It is a good bread substitute because it contains low calories and fats.
- Polenta is a healthy food, an excellent source of antioxidants and does not contain gluten. It is a good option for those who follow a gluten-free diet.
- We like the taste of creamy polenta, which is often preferred as a side dish instead of mashed potatoes, rice or pasta.
- Reminds me of childhood tastes being very often present on our menus, consuming it both with milk or cottage cheese and as a dessert in sweet cornbread.
The simplicity of this recipe also comes from the fact that we need only four ingredients. The most important is cornmeal, from which I will make polenta, and I will use 300 g (about 2.5 cups) for four servings.
Because I like the taste of the cheese in the food, I will use three large balls of mozzarella, and 100 g (0.22 lbs) of cheddar cheese. And last but not least, smoked bacon will flavour and take our mozzarella polenta to another level, of which I will put 150 g (0.33 lbs).
Preparing the Ingredients
I start with the sliced smoked bacon, which I cut into smaller pieces, and then I will fry it until they become crispy.
I sliced the mozzarella balls to spread them better in the polenta, but of course, they can break into pieces; they will melt after baking.
I will grate the cheddar cheese on the large grater and sprinkle it on top of the polenta on the last level.
How to Make the Creamy Mozzarella Polenta?
Preparing the Creamy Polenta
First, I will make the polenta, which will be a little softer but creamier. For this, I boil about 1.5 l of water in a pot, adding a teaspoon of sea salt.
After the water has started to boil, lightly pour the cornmeal into it, stirring with a whisk, so it does not become lumpy.
Let it simmer for at least 20-25 minutes, constantly stirring, as it tends to stick to the bottom of the pot and burn. Be careful because it boils, making bubbles and sprinkles polenta everywhere like the lava of a volcano; there is the possibility of burning your hands.
To make the polenta more creamy, turn off the heat and add the butter, constantly stirring until the butter melts completely and will be absorbed by the polenta.
I leave aside the creamy polenta to cool a little, and I will fry the smoked bacon.
Fry the Bacon
In a non-stick pan, heat a tablespoon of sunflower oil and fry the smoked bacon pieces over medium to high heat.
Fry the bacon for about 2-3 minutes, until the fat melts and becomes golden and a little crispy. The aroma of fried bacon and its slightly smoky taste will enrich our creamy mozzarella polenta that will become much more delicious and flavorful.
After you have fried the bacon pieces, you can take them out on a paper towel to drain the oil, but I left them in the pan because this lard is full of flavours, and I will put a little of it on the polenta.
Layer the Casserole
Take a baking dish, if I have a round one made of heat-resistant glass, and grease it well with butter everywhere.
Pour half of the polenta into the oven dish, level it with a spoon and place half of the slices or pieces of mozzarella on it.
Over these, I put with the spoon half of the smoked bacon from the pan and half of the grated cheddar cheese.
Repeat the operation for the next level and pour the rest of the polenta over which we place the other half of the amount of mozzarella.
We will add the fried bacon again, and the rest of the cheddar cheese on top will finish the last layer of the creamy mozzarella polenta. Here, whoever wants can add parmesan or pecorino cheese, but I say that’s enough.
Bake the Polenta Casserole
I preheated the oven to 190 C (374 F), then put the uncovered oven dish for 15 minutes to bake; during this time, the mozzarella and cheddar cheese will melt over the polenta.
To have a golden colour and be a little crispy on top, I turned on the grill option and left the oven dish for another five minutes.
This was my creamy mozzarella polenta recipe, ready to be served while it is still hot.
Serving the Dish
The mozzarella polenta is served hot, as an appetizer, with a little sour cream on top, and as I like it with a sweet and sour butterhead salad, it is delicious. If you have leftover of this polenta, put a piece in a bowl and serve a hot romaine lettuce soup on top, you will see how tasty it is.
I highly recommend you try this delicious creamy mozzarella polenta recipe, and if you are interested in other appetizer recipes, I recommend some from our blog, such as:
- Battered Fried Zucchini
- Meatloaf Pate Recipe
- Zucchini Balls Recipe
- Mediterranean Roasted Eggplant Recipe
- Stuffed Mushrooms With Cheese and Bacon
- Best Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese Recipe
Creamy Mozzarella Polenta
- 1 Soup Pot
- 1 glass baking dish
- 300 g cornmeal coarse
- 600 g mozzarella balls
- 150 g smoked bacon sliced
- 100 g cheddar cheese grated
- 1 tsp sea salt kosher
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1.5 l water
- Cut the smoked bacon into smaller pieces, slice the mozzarella balls and grate the cheddar cheese on the large grater.
- Boil the water in a pot, add the sea salt and pour the cornmeal into it, stirring with a whisk.
- Simmer for at least 20-25 minutes, constantly stirring, then turn off the heat and add the butter, stirring until this melts entirely and will be absorbed.
- Heat the sunflower oil in a pan and fry the smoked bacon pieces over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, until they become golden and a little crispy.
- Take a baking dish and grease it well with butter everywhere.
- Pour half of the polenta into the oven dish, level it with a spoon and place half of the slices or pieces of mozzarella on it.
- Put over half of the smoked bacon and half the grated cheddar cheese.
- Repeat the operation and pour the rest of the polenta and the other half of the amount of mozzarella.
- Add the remaining fried bacon and the rest of the cheddar cheese on top.
- Put the uncovered oven dish in the preheated oven at 190 C (374 F) for 15 minutes to bake.
- Turn on the grill option and leave the oven dish for another five minutes to have a golden colour and be a little crispy on top.
- Serve hot, as an appetizer, with a little sour cream on the top.