Three Popular Italian Polenta Dishes

When you think of starches that are available at an Italian restaurant, there's a good chance that pasta immediately comes to mind. Pasta is a staple in many dishes, while potatoes are another starch that you'll often find. One starch that you might not immediately think about, but that is available at lots of Italian eateries, is polenta. Polenta is a porridge-like product that is made of boiled cornmeal. At authentic restaurants, it's often available on the menu in a few different dishes. If you haven't eaten polenta and are curious to try it, here are some options that may be available.

Tomato Sauce

It's often possible to get a bowl of polenta with tomato sauce on top. This dish can be an alternative to having tomato sauce on top of a bowl of pasta, making it an appealing choice for anyone who perhaps is trying to limit their intake of wheat. The tomato sauce can vary — it can be a simple sauce that features tomatoes, onions, herbs, and spices, or it can contain other ingredients. For example, tomato sauce with meatballs or sausages are both popular options at many Italian eateries, and it may be possible to get either sauce on top of a serving of polenta.

Pork Chop

A lot of authentic Italian restaurants serve pork chop dishes, which can be a desirable option for anyone who isn't wanting a tomato-based dish during a particular visit. While it's common to see pork chops with a certain type of potato, you may also have the choice of having your pork chop on a bed of polenta. The polenta will provide a gentle, neutral taste that pairs with the pork chop, which will likely be marinated with Italian seasonings and have a bold flavor.


If you're interested in ordering a meat-free dish during your Italian restaurant visit, you may find that polenta is one of the ingredients in some of the dishes that are available. One option that you may encounter is mushrooms with polenta, which can be an appetizer or a main course. This dish can appear in all sorts of different ways but often features a selection of mushrooms that are pan fried with garlic, rosemary, thyme, and other flavors that are prevalent in Italian cuisine. The mushrooms appear on top of a bed of polenta, which may have Parmesan cheese mixed in with it to add more flavor and creaminess. Try one of these polenta dishes when you visit a local authentic Italian restaurant.