Basic Polenta

Serves 4 to 6



Polenta is a cornmeal specialty of Italy. It can be served as a hearty breakfast mush or, combined with other ingredients, served as a main course or side dish. Directions follow for boiled (soft or basic), baked, fried, and grilled polenta.


    1 cup yellow cornmeal

    3 1/2 cups cold water

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    1 tablespoon butter or margarine


In a bowl mix cornmeal with 1 cup water. In a saucepan over high heat combine remaining 2 1/2 cups water and salt and bring to a boil. Slowly pour cornmeal mixture into boiling water, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring constantly until thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan cheese and butter. Immediately spoon onto plates or bowls and serve.