A basic recipe for making polenta using coarsely ground cornmeal.
1 cup coarsely ground yellow or white cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, salt, and 1 cup of water. Pour the cornmeal mixture into the boiling water. Stir constantly with a whisk until it comes to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to very low. Cook, stirring every 10 minutes or so, for 40 minutes, or until the polenta is thick and creamy. Use a flame tamer if necessary to keep the heat low enough to prevent the polenta from splattering. If the polenta becomes too thick add more water. Remove the polenta from the heat.
- Stir in the butter and, if using, the Parmesan cheese.
Makes 4 servings.
To Make Ahead: Polenta can be kept warm for up to 1 hour. Do not add the butter and cheese. Cover the pot and place it in a larger pot filled with simmering water.
To Prepare Polenta Crostini: As soon as the polenta is cooked, spread it out over a greased baking sheet, as evenly as possible, to a 1/2 inch thickness. Let it cool at room temperature, cover and store in the refrigerator until needed. When ready to cook cut polenta into desired shapes and brush with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes (at 400°F | 205°C, turning once), grill for 2 minutes or sauté in a non-stick skillet at medium-high heat for 5 minutes on each side. Polenta crostini can be made up to 3 days ahead.