Soft Polenta: Traditional Method

Serves 4-6


This is the classic and most common technique for cooking polenta, and the one that should be used for larger quantities. The amounts can easily be increased to make larger quantities for a crowd.

  1. In a heavy pot, bring 3 cups of water to a rolling boil. Have the remaining water simmering nearby. Add the salt and stir the water rapidly with a whisk, stirring in the same circular direction to create a vortex, into which pour the polenta in a thin steady stream, stirring continuously all the while to prevent the formation of lumps. Continue to stir after all the polenta has been added and lower the heat so that the mixture simmers slowly rather than boils. When the polenta begins to thicken, change from a whisk to a long-handled wooden spoon, add one cup of the remaining water, and continue to stir. Should you find lumps, use the spoon to press them against the side of the pot until they dissolve.
  2. Continue to stir the polenta, being sure to reach down to the bottom of the pot, until it is thick and pulls away from the sides of the pot. Taste the polenta to be sure the grains are tender; add more water as necessary. It will take from 15 to 60 minutes, the longer time for certain types of cornmeal that simply do not become tender quickly.
  3. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, 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