After trying to make polenta numerous ways – in a pot, in the oven, with milk, with water, with a combo of milk and water, adding the cornmeal gradually, using the different grinds of cornmeal, I have decided that this is the best way for me – the way my family and I like it best. I hope you agree. This is really a combination of Mark Bittman (making the slurry part), the book HEAT (cooking a long time) and the Dean & Deluca cookbook (my first polenta recipe used). So here we go.
POLENTA – serves 4
1.5 cups coarse ground cornmeal – I use Stone-Ground Organic Fancy Polenta from Hudson Valley
5-6 cups water, or more
1 tsp. salt, plus more if necessary
Fresh ground black pepper
1.5 tbs. unsalted butter
1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan
Pour 1 cup of water in a pan, whisk in all the cornmeal and make a slurry, then whisk in 4 more cups of water with 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, stirring every once in a while. Reduce heat to a simmer. You should have large bubble plops every so often. The polenta will look alive and be slow moving in its simmer. Add more water if it gets too thick. Stir every so often with a whisk to prevent burning on the bottom and use a spatula to scrape the sides of the pan. Simmer for 45 minutes or longer. It should be pulling away from the sides of the pan and taste it to make sure the cornmeal is done and tender. Add more salt if necessary. When done, add a liberal grinding of pepper. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and then the cheese.