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The Method: Polenta

Making creamy polenta can be a long and arduous affair, but by presoaking you can cut down on some of that effort and keep all the luxurious texture.


2 cups polenta
7 cups water or 3 cups water and 4 cups broth
1 t  salt, or more to taste
2 -3 T butter
1/2 cup grated gouda

Put polenta into a large pot and pour in 3 cups of boiling water, whisking to remove any lumps.
Cover and leave for 8 hours, or overnight.
When you're ready to prepare the polenta, add another 4 cups of boiling salted water or broth, whisking or stirring with a fork as you do so.
Put your pan on medium high heat and bring the polenta to a boil, stirring every few minutes.
Maintain a simmer, controlling your heat, and use a wooden spoon to regularly scrape the bottom and sides to prevent sticking.
Surrender yourself to a good 25 minutes of regular stirring, but know it will be worth it. 
When the polenta starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, and more slowly fill in the gaps left by your spoon, turn off the heat.
Add butter and grated cheese, stir a little more, and serve immediately with any simple sauce, cooked vegetables, and your protein of choice.
Unused polenta can be chilled in a sheet pan, then fried and enjoyed with dips or on sandwiches.