To some people, polenta is a dish made with corn, water, and salt. To others, it just means corn meal. Here, I refer to the former meaning. It is very simple and easy to prepare. It is also very quick to cook, depending on how you do it. It is best eaten right after cooking. Serve it on a plate with any sort of topping, for example:
- Spaghetti sauce
- Chilli (san- or con-carni)
- Bacon and eggs (makes a great breakfast)
How to Cook Polenta
There are many ways to cook polenta. I use the lazy, easy method:
- Pour 1½ cups cold water into a pot.
- Add about 1 teaspoon salt to the water (not critical, adjust to taste).
- Add ½ cup corn meal.
- Bring the water to a boil. Stir often to avoid any cornmeal sticking to the pot.
As the mixture approaches the boiling point, turn it down to low.
- Simmer for approximately 5 to 15 minutes, depending on how course the cornmeal is.
Cover the pot with a lid when you are not stirring, otherwise the thick boiling corn meal will launch tiny hot bits of itself at you and the stove.
- When ready, serve immediately.
Note that the length of time taken for the polenta to cook depends on how course the cornmeal is (fine corn meal cooks very quickly, course cornmeal takes longer). You can adjust the ratio of water to corn meal, according to the consistency you want.