Sometime between the holiday’s fading glow and spring’s first warm breezes lies a long, frigid stretch of nights when we huddled in our homes, hunker down from the cold and wind, and heat up leftovers for dinner. There is no better time than now to gather some friends together and throw a party full of cozy comfort food, delicious cocktails, and loads of laughter—An Italian Polenta Party!
When Aida of Salt & Wind suggested the idea to myself and Meg from This Mess Is Ours we answered with an enthusiastic, YES! I mean, I am never one to turn down an opportunity to cook and gather together with my friends, especially over creamy mountains of soft polenta and Aida’s sensational creamy pesto.
Throwing an Italian Polenta Party is a really fun way to entertain. All you have to do is invite some fun-loving friends, make a few appetizers, a simple cocktail, and then pour out the polenta onto a board in the middle of the table and let everyone dig in!
Here’s All You Need To Know To Throw Your Own Polenta Party
We all gathered on a late Saturday afternoon and Meg mixed up some sparkling Apple Basil and Prosecco Spritzer cocktails while Meredith finished her sweet herb and floral wreaths to line every plate. Aida arranged Fontina and Prosciutto Puff Pastry Squares and Mushroom Ragout Agrodolce Bites on a marbled wood board along with balsamic roasted apples, several types of cheese, and charcuterie. It was all just the beginning to the main event about to come: The Polenta!!
Italian Polenta Party Menu
Here is the rundown of the entire menu. We did one meat topping and one vegetarian topping to go with the polenta but you could always just pick one. It is all the little extras however that make it super fun, so try to have at least three or four different sauces or garnishes that your friends can add to their polenta. Included are the recipes to make these but you could easily make one or two and buy a couple more high-quality versions from the store. Or make the sauces and have toasted pine nuts and grated Parmesan or Pecorino on hand for generous sprinkling.
Apple Basil and Prosecco Spritzer cocktails | This Mess Is Ours
Fontina and Prosciutto Puff Pastry Squares | Salt & Wind
Mushroom Ragout Agrodolce Bites | Salt & Wind
Nuts, Cheese, Sliced Charcuterie, Balsamic Roasted Apples, Crackers, and Fruit
The Polenta Board + A Salad
Escarole, Charred Mandarins, Toasted Almond Salad with Rosemary Balsamic Vinaigrette | Salt & Wind
Basic Creamy Polenta | Salt & Wind
Beer Braised Beef Barbacoa| ¡Hola! Jalapeño
Braised Chickpeas with Porcini and Tuscan Kale | This Mess Is Ours
Creamy Basil Pesto | Salt & Wind
Slow-Roasted Tomatoes | Salt & Wind
Red Pepper Romesco Sauce | Salt & Wind
Blood Orange Tart with Vanilla Mascarpone | ¡Hola! Jalapeño
Serving the Polenta
For our party of 8 people Aida quadrupled this recipe and we had plenty of leftovers to take home (gratefully). The polenta is really nice because you can start it and then let it basically cook on its own, giving it a stir every now and again until it is ready.
To serve the polenta you’ll need a very large food-safe board. Meg had a gorgeous reclaimed wood board that ran the length of the table from Pasadenaville which worked perfectly as everyone had some polenta right in front of them at the table. A large wood cutting board or tray would also work. Just find your biggest food-safe board and pour the polenta out onto the it. Top half of the polenta with the barbacoa and half with the braised chickpeas and place it in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves. Serve all the sauces and garnishes in small dishes scattered about the table so your friends can add what they please. Aida also made a dairy-free version of the polenta with chicken broth and olive oil instead of the butter, milk, and cheese.
Make It Mexican! A Few Mexican Food Recipes That Would Go Great With Polenta
Slow Cooker Carne Adobada
Crispy Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
The Best Ever Canned Black Beans
The Place Settings
Our very talented friend Meredith created delicate mini wreaths made from fresh (and totally edible) herbs, olive leaves, and straw flowers. They look rustic and pretty on the plates and Louisa turned them into a darling little tiara after the party was over. Get all the details on how to make them here.
Shop The Party
Here are a few party essentials we can’t live without:
Vintage Roly Poly Cocktail Glasses
Denim Cloth Table Covering
All Produce: Melissa’s Produce
What About The After Party Clean Up
Not to worry, I’ve got your back there too! Check out my 6 Kitchen Cleaning Hacks for easy clean up.
A humongous thanks goes to Salt & Wind and This Mess Is Ours for all the photos.
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