- 8 cups boiling water or low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 lb coarsely stone-ground corn meal (the consistency should be fine to medium-grained sand, not flour-like)
- 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Bring water or broth to a boil in a wide-bottomed pot.
- Slowly add the corn meal (you don't want the liquid to stop boiling), stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to keep lumps from forming. Continue stirring, in the same direction, as the mush thickens, for about 30 minutes (the longer you stir the better the polenta will be; the finished polenta should have the consistency of firm mashed potatoes), adding boiling water or broth as necessary.
- The polenta is done when it peels easily off the sides of the pot. Add the cheese and stir to incorporate. For vegetarian meal ideas, serve as the base for mushroom ragout, ratatouille or balsamic roasted vegetables. TIP: Add some shrimp, salmon or chicken breast for added protein.
Optional: When the polenta is done cooking, pour it onto a cookie sheet pan and spread it out. Allow it to cool and harden for 1 hour. At that point you can cut it into slices and heat it through on a grill pan. Top with olive tapenade, chili or tomato bruschetta for a great appetizer.