Basic Polenta

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Polenta is one of the easiest things you could ever possibly make.

I am embarrassed to admit that at one point in my young life I purchased pre-made polenta at an Italian market, thinking to myself surely the Italians must do it better than I.

Except then I remembered I’m part Italian and so therefore had no excuse.

Really, no one has an excuse to not make polenta themselves. Unless, of course, you don’t have water or cornmeal. Because that’s basically all you’ll need. Seriously.

Basic Polenta

  • 3 cups water (or vegetable stock)
  • 1 cup cornmeal


  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Reduce to a simmer and sprinkle cornmeal in while stirring constantly.
  3. Continue stirring until mixture begins to thicken and pull away from the sides of the pot. Your spoon should be able to stand up.
  4. Turn out into a lightly oiled baking pan and smooth the top.
  5. Let cool.

The entire process from beginning to end takes just a few minutes – 20 minutes tops.

What you do with the polenta once it’s cooked is really up to you. The possibilities are endless.

Fry it. Sauce it. Whatever.

And stay tuned for some of my suggestions later on.


  1. Deborah says

    I use polenta a lot (put in bottom of bowl and ladle soup/stew on it). This is an easy way to make it without constant stirring. Called “Basic Soft Polenta” from the Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook

    Pour 4 c. water in saucepan, high heat. Boil, add 1 tsp salt, lower heat to med. Whisk in 1 c. medium-grind cornmeal in a slow steady stream for 1 min. Continue whisking until comes back to boil. Simmer, whisking constantly until thickens – 1-2 min.

    Reduce heat to barest simmer. Cover pot and stir every 10 min. for about 35-40 min.

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