Basic Soft Polenta

Serves about 4

Traditional polenta recipes often call for continuous stirring for 40 minutes, which is a bore, and appears to be, from this recipe, not always necessary. The microwave methods we have tried aren’t too great because the corn meal always tastes raw. This looks and tastes like the real thing. Try to use a stone-ground meal with the germ still in it; most of the major brands lack this, which changes the flavor. Also, the standard grinds are a bit too fine; use a coarse corn meal.

You can use polenta in place of pasta in many recipes. It's rich, full flavor adds a lot.

1 tsp salt

1 cup medium-ground corn meal

2 tbsp butter

4 cups water

  1. Heat water to a boil in a medium-heavy saucepan. Add salt and lower heat to medium.
  2. Using a whisk, slowly pour in corn meal. This should take about one minute, whisking continually to prevent lumps from forming. Continue whisking until mixture returns to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and continue whisking until polenta begins to thicken, about 1 or 2 minutes.
  1. Reduce heat to barely simmer. Cover and cook very slowly, stirring about every 10 minutes until the polenta loses its raw flavor – 35 to 40 minutes.
  2. Stir in butter until melted and correct seasoning. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.

Source: "The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook" by Jack Bishop.

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