Known globally as maize, corn is the only grain whose origin can be traced to the Americas. Scientists believe that the people of central Mexico developed corn from the indigenous wild grass teosinte at least 7,000 years ago. Corn spread north into the present-day southwestern United States and south as far as Peru.
When Christopher Columbus landed in modern day Cuba, some of his crew went inland and came across maize being cultivated by Native Americans. It's unclear whether corn was brought back to Europe after Columbus's first or second voyage, but by the early 16th century it was being cultivated on the continent. In Italy, corn is most often served as polenta, a staple dish in Northern Italy (and formerly throughout Italy, until pasta unseated it in the 20th century), where it was regarded as peasant food for centuries. Polenta can carry many different flavors, and as such, offers endless options for variation. It can also be made with either white or yellow corn, and can be ground coarse or fine. This polenta, made with white cornmeal, is known as "polenta bianca."
In Italy, polenta with ragu is traditionally served directly on wooden planks, rather than in a bowl or on a plate, hearkening back to a time before dishware, when polenta was poured directly onto a well-scrubbed tabletop. This ancient rustic style is called "polenta spianatora," or "polenta spread flat." Putting the polenta in the center of the table meant that those with the longest arms (the adults) reached the best parts of the ragu first. The wooden plank presentation style is still used almost exclusively throughout Italy.
Our Fine White Polenta is ready to cook whenever you are. It's an extremely adaptable base for any number of dishes, but it pairs especially well with other hearty foods and bold flavors. Top a creamy mound of polenta with roasted or stewed meats (osso bucco is a natural match) or a traditional ragu made with Italian sausage. Or pour cooked polenta into a greased mold and refrigerate until firm, then slice and grill, sauté or fry for added texture.
Polenta is a nutritious dish, offering an excellent source of iron and a good source of vitamin A and potassium, along with dietary fiber.
Nutritional information coming soon!
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