Creamy Polenta with Bacon and Sage


Water or stock can be substituted for any or all of the milk. The more milk you use, the creamier the polenta will be.


  • 2 ounces thickly sliced bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage leaves, plus more whole leaves for garnish

  • 4 cups milk

  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons quick-cooking polenta

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt, or more to taste

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or more to taste

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (optional)


  1. Place a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the bacon, and cook until crisp and golden, about 8 minutes. Remove bacon from saucepan; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Set aside.

  2. Add chopped sage to saucepan, and cook in the bacon fat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add milk, and bring to a boil.

  3. Add the polenta in a steady stream, whisking constantly until it is smooth and creamy, about 6 minutes. Whisk in the butter, and season with the salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl, and crumble the reserved bacon on top. Heat the olive oil, in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the whole sage leaves, and fry until crisp, about 30 seconds. Remove from the skillet, and scatter over the polenta.

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