Yield
MAKES: About 4 cups; 4 servings

NOTES: Look for Italian brands of polenta or cornmeal labeled "polenta"; avoid instant. Polenta's cooking time depends on your preference. In our tests, 20 minutes produced creamy polenta with tender, separate grains; after 40 minutes, the mixture was thicker, with softer, less distinct grains.

How to Make It

Step 1

In a 3-quart pan over high heat, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Reduce heat to a low boil.

Step 2

Stirring constantly, pour in polenta in a slow, thin stream, pausing occasionally to break up any lumps. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Step 3

Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until polenta is thick and creamy to bite and pulls away slightly from sides of pan when stirred, 20 to 40 minutes (see notes); adjust heat as necessary to maintain a simmer. Stir in butter, if desired, and add more salt to taste.

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