Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Traditional Italian Polenta Recipe

4 cups yellow cornmeal
1-1/2 t. salt
3 quarts boiling water, or more, as needed

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil with the salt in a large saucepan. Bring another quart of water to a boil in another pan; this will be needed later as cooking proceeds.  As soon as the water boils, add 2-1/2 cups of cornmeal, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Traditionally, the stirring is clockwise only. Reduce the heat. As the polenta thickens, add a little more boiling water. After 15 minutes, add the remaining cornmeal and continue stirring and cooking, adding water when it becomes too thick. The polenta should cook for about one hour; it will be more digestible and lose any underlying bitterness if the cooking can be extended that long. However, it is cooked when it comes easily away from the sides of the pan.

The polenta may be enjoyed soft and very hot, accompanied by any number of sauces or garnishes; or it may be allowed to cool and harden, cut into various shapes, sprinkled with butter and grated parmesan cheese, arranged in layers with various fillings between and baked, etc. The sliced, hardened polenta may be substituted for bread, especially when it is accompanied by a good gravy or a dish of braised meat. Served with your favorite pasta sauce and roast pork, this will be popular with the men.

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