Rating: 3 stars
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Cheesy semolina is like a warm hug from a cherished aunt. It’s terrific on its own but can go anywhere mashed potatoes or polenta would go, and it is unique enough to be a fun addition to a dinner party. Whether you are eating it right out of the pot in your lap in your pajamas, or serving it in your best china to guests, this is a perfect dish to have in your arsenal. The choice of cheese is up to you: Want your semolina extra creamy and smooth? Go for a soft cheese like cream cheese, chevre, or even Boursin. A little more texture? Try a grated melting cheese with some backbone, fontina, gruyere, cheddar. Looking for deeper umami? Hit the parmigiano or pecorino.

Stacey Ballis


Credit: Stacey Ballis

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Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Take your liquid and put it in a heavy-bottomed pan. Season the liquid with salt, pepper if you like, or any other seasonings that you are feeling up to. A bay leaf doesn’t go amiss, nor does a scrape of nutmeg. But mostly you just need salt. If you have only water, try a bouillon cube or paste.

  • Bring it to a simmer over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to medium low and pour in your semolina in a steady stream. Whisk the semolina until fully combined with no lumps. Continue to stir while the mixture comes back to a simmer, and watch it thicken to a lovely mashed potato-like consistency in about 2-3 minutes.

  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in your cheese of choice, whisking until well combined and melted. Check the texture. Want it creamier? Add more liquid. Cheesier? Add more cheese. Taste for seasoning, add any last-minute additions you might want, like lemon zest or chopped fresh herbs, and pile into a bowl. Think it wants a pat of butter melting on top? No one would argue.