Italians enjoy cornmeal or polenta in countless preparations. Polentina is a creamier, porridge-like version, often served for breakfast. An orange-infused dollop of tangy mascarpone cheese and yogurt is a rich, delicious topping. But feel free to skip the mascarpone and double the yogurt to save calories. To keep it quick, we use instant polenta or regular fine cornmeal. If you have time, the recipe will work with stone-ground cornmeal. It will take longer to cook, 15 to 20 minutes, but will reward you with rich texture.

Maria Speck
Source: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2010


Recipe Summary

20 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Zest the orange to get 1 1/2 teaspoons; set the zest aside. Remove the rest of the peel and white pith with a sharp knife. Working over a bowl, cut the segments from their surrounding membranes. Set aside for garnish.

  • Combine water, milk and salt in a large heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in polenta (or cornmeal) and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain an even bubble and whisk until the polentina thickens, 1 to 5 minutes (depending on what type you're using). Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, combine mascarpone, yogurt, 1 tablespoon honey and 1/2 teaspoon of the orange zest in a small bowl.

  • Whisk the remaining 3 tablespoons honey and the remaining 1 teaspoon zest into the polentina. Divide among 4 bowls and top with a dollop of the mascarpone topping. Garnish with the reserved orange segments and sprinkle with tarragon, if desired. Serve immediately.


Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the topping (Step 3) for up to 2 days.

Nutrition Facts

350 calories; protein 8.9g 18% DV; carbohydrates 50.3g 16% DV; exchange other carbs 3.5; dietary fiber 3.8g 15% DV; sugars 25.4g; fat 13.9g 21% DV; saturated fat 7.6g 38% DV; cholesterol 39.6mg 13% DV; vitamin a iu 653IU 13% DV; vitamin c 17.5mg 29% DV; folate 14.8mcg 4% DV; calcium 181.8mg 18% DV; iron 0.2mg 1% DV; magnesium 14.9mg 5% DV; potassium 208.7mg 6% DV; sodium 210.3mg 8% DV; thiamin 0.1mg 5% DV; added sugar 17g.

Reviews (7)

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7 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 5
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
Another Winner from You'd never guess it's gluten-free it tastes so much like cream of wheat. Very versatile breakfast as the other reviewers are saying. My husband and I wolfed it right down. mmm. Pros: gluten free Read More
Rating: 4 stars
This is a nice creamy change to cold cereal. I have just started on a no gluten diet due to wheat allergies. I have also stopped using dairy milk products. I used almond milk instead of the dairy milk. This is a homey breakfast. Warm and creamy just the right amount of sweetness. I have also used white corn grits instead of the corn meal. You do need to cook the grits a little longer but still very tasty. I have also used a banana and honey greek yogurt with the orange zest. Was still very tasty. Pros: Easy to make and you can change it up a little with what you have on hand. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This is a nice change of pace from oatmeal - the flavor was great. I used orange-infused honey to ramp up the flavor a little and added a smidge of vanilla extract. Yum! I made a batch on the weekend and reheated the leftovers for breakfast. It will thin out if rewarmed in the microwave. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Delicious! Easy to make. Reheated left overs for breakfast the next day and they were still creamy. The yogurt topping makes it extra special. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I really love this recipe! This is a new staple around here. It's such a nice warm comforting yet sunny way to start the day. My kids (ages 5 & 2) love it too. They think the topping is just too much fun and enjoy dipping their orange segments in it. We've made the sauce with plain yogurt and plain cream cheese bunches of times and it works out well. It's a little more tart (surprisingly) than the sauce when made as the recipe calls for. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I made it with low fat cream cheese and it still turned out very good. Have also used madarins and grapefruits and always add pecans. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Elegant healthy breakfast I've made this with oranges mandarins tangerines and grapefruit all are good also have made it with fat free cream cheese and it is still very good. The one addition is I toast some chopped pecans and flax seeds to sprinkle on top. Pros: Everyone loves it Cons: It does take some work to make Read More