Soft Polenta: Cold Water Method

Serves 4-6


This technique is virtually foolproof when it comes to avoiding lumps. If you've had trouble in the past with lumps, use this version until you are more comfortable making polenta.

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup coarse or medium-grind polenta
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

Pour 3 cups of water into a large heavy pot, add the salt, and stir in the cornmeal. Place the pot over high heat, stirring as the mixture comes to a boil. (Bring the remaining water to a boil in a separate container.) Lower the heat and simmer, stirring every few minutes until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup of the additional water and continue to cook the polenta over low heat until it is tender. The polenta should be soft and creamy, without hard grains. Depending on the age and type of polenta, this will take from 15 to 60 minutes; add more water as necessary. Stir regularly from the bottom of the pot so that the thickened polenta does not scorch. When the polenta is nearly ready, stir in the pepper and butter, followed by the cheese. Remove from the heat. To serve immediately, pour onto a large platter or bowl or individual dishes.

by Michele Anna Jordan
Broadway Books
$19.95; 1997
ISBN 0-553-06732-X
Copyright © 1997 Michele Anna Jordan.
Reprinted by permission.



Making Soft Polenta
Polenta Recipes (by Michele Anna Jordan)
Additional Polenta Recipes

This Archived Page created between 1994 and 2001. Modified August 2007

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