How to Prepare Polenta the Classic Way
- Measure out the water and corn meal in a 4:1 ratio; 4 cups of water per 1 cup of polenta.
- Add water to a large stock pot and turn the heat on high. Once the water is at a near boil, add a bit of salt to the water (~1 teaspoon), and let the water continue to a full, rolling boil.
- Add the polenta to the water slowly enough that the water continues to roll throughout the pouring process. This helps keep the polenta kernels from sticking to each other.
- Reduce the heat and stir the polenta semi-constantly for the next 30-35 minutes with a large spoon. The polenta should start to come together.
- Once this happens, it's time to finish off the polenta with a bit of butter (as much as you feel comfortable with), and continue stirring until the sides of the polenta start to pull easily from the sides of the pot.
- Put a little bit of water into a serving bowl and pour the polenta into it. The water should keep the polenta from sticking.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Feel free to finish off your polenta with different cheeses or herbs. Mascarpone and parmesan are favorites.
- You can use broth instead of water to imbue your polenta with more flavor. Keep in mind, however, that stock will usually imbue your polenta with a duller color.
- If you don't want to stir it for the whole 30 minutes, try stirring at least for the first 5 minutes, and then cover it loosely with aluminum foil. After 25 minutes pass, you'll probably find that your liquid and polenta have separated, but just gently stir them back together with a wooden spoon and finish the polenta as you would normally.
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