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Oct 27, 2007 02:50 PM

OK.... ok .. i'm giving it up, my secret way to cook polenta that is so easy you will do it again and again

forget boiling and stirring and slaving....

put a cup of polenta (not too fine) in a saute pan with some salt and butter... add between 3 and 6 cups of water (depending on the texture you want)... stir together....put it into a 350 - 375 degree oven... come back in 40 minutes and adjust the seasonings... put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.... pull it out.... add some cheese and more butter if desired....sauce adn eat.... or put in a square pan cool and cut into squares (if you are going this route less water rather than more)


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  1. Good grief, I think I'm in love. Thanks for sharing. One Q: Cover or no cover in the oven?

    1 Reply
    1. I'll throw in the Zefiro restaurant way of making no-stir super creamy, no lumps, polenta

      Get yerself a bain marie or double boilers (we used 2 restaurant soup inserts togehter, bottom filled with water set to boil.)

      Ratio of Polenta to water 1 to 4
      Bring water + salt/chix stock to boil.
      Whisk in polenta in steady stream
      Cover with plastic wrap and place on top of double boiler bottom (soup insert that's now boiling)
      Cook over medium heat for about 40 minutes, then stir..if still grainy, re-cover and allow to cool for an additional 20 minutes.

      Stir in butter, salt, marscapone, ect...

      Also: to prevent skin from forming on top of polenta (if waiting for service) place the empty wax butter wrapper atop the polenta.

      5 Replies
      1. re: sixelagogo

        Lynne Rossetto Kasper in 'The Splendid Table', her substantial volume on Northern Italian food, advocates this long double boiler method. I used a deep stainless steel mixing bowl over my pasta pot. Last time I ended up cooking it for close to 4 hrs, adding enough water along the way to end up with close to a 5:1 ratio. The result was much smoother than any short cooked version - rich but light.


        1. re: sixelagogo

          I have used a double boiler for years for poleta. It cooks slower but lighter. I also steam quinua as couscous in a steam basket in the same way. Just a far better finish to the product

          1. re: selltile

            Just curious why the plastic wrap over the polenta when placed in the double boiler? Why not just the top? Is it to reduce the amount of space between the top of the polenta and the lid, and if that is the case, then would parchment paper work as well?

            1. re: ideabaker

              my guess is the steam rises to the top and then water drops down onto the polenta, when its atop directly its not as much of a problem. This is what you do for puddings as well.

              1. re: jefskil

                jef, would poking a couple of holes in the plastic do the trick too? steam is gonna pool up on anything and drip onto the polenta right? sorry not trying to be a naysayer but trying to see it in my mind.

        2. Great!! I will do it. Awesome tip. You rock! I must add that I LOVE Bob's Red Mill Coarse Ground Polenta for making polenta. The bigger grains give it a nice texture, and the flavor is outstanding.

          I have tried making microwave polenta by setting the power low. Just tried it once and it worked ok. Not perfected yet. Maybe to avoid lumps, toss grains with a bit of oil first!

          16 Replies
          1. re: scuzzo

            i always use Barbara Kafka's recipe from her Microwave Gourmet for polenta. It takes about 6 minutes tops and is always perfect.

            1. re: Candy

              What is Barbara Kafka's microwave recipe for polenta?

              1. re: lvhkitty

                I'll get back to you. I am at work and don't have the book here. It is in Barbara Kafka's Microwave Gourmet. Grits do well too.

                1. re: Candy

                  Firm polenta for chilling and then grilling or frying:
                  Place 4 C. water, 1 1/4 C. cornmeal and a scant 2 tsp. salt in a 2 qt. glass bowl. Cook on high for about 12 mins., stirring once half way through. Coat a baking dish with 1 Tbs. butter. Stir 3 Tbs. butter and freshly ground pepper in to the polenta and then pour into the prepared pan. Chill well then cut into sticks, wedges, circles or whatever shape you desire. Then you can fry or grill. If you are grilling it make sure the surface is dry. Put butter or olive oil in a skillet and fry until golden on all sides. Marinara sauce is a good dip for the sticks.

                  Soft polenta. Combine 2 1/2 C. water, 1/2 C. meal. and about 3/4 tsp. salt in a 4 C. microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high 5 mins., then stir in 3 Tbs. butter and microwave an additional 5 mins. Add some freshly ground pepper to taste and serve.

                  1. re: Candy

                    I've seen this sort of recipe on tv by some chef.
                    used was a typical polenta that was cooled then cut into diamonds, fried, then a basil type pesto was drizzled over. looked good to me but even with the frying of the cut out jewels, still not sure my DH would go or it, pesto or otherwise

                    1. re: iL Divo

                      might have been michael chiarello.

                      1. re: alkapal

                        real possible • love his cooking style, his flavors etc. and used to really enjoy his demeanor as well-lately? jury's out

                    2. re: Candy

                      I use a similar method to make Chi Chi's Mexican Restaurant Sweet Corn Cakes in 15 minutes in the microwave.

                2. re: scuzzo

                  Yes! I love that particular polenta! I had it recently at a local restaurant, and it was the first time that I actually LOVED a polenta!

                  1. re: Katie Nell

                    I can't understand how anybody can NOT like polenta. My husband is one such specimen. Consequently, although I'd love to try this recipe, I'd have to make it for one and tell him to get a sandwich.

                    It's one of my favorite things on earth. He says it reminds him of Cream of Wheat and brings back bad childhood memories of school cafeterias with sodden glop in big aluminum pans on the steam table.

                    So I order it any time it's on a menu when we go out. NOT ENOUGH!!

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      I had the same problem until I melted about a lb of good quality muenster cheese into it. Now everyone is always inquiring as to when it will be 'polenta weather' again... :--}

                      1. re: Tay

                        Same problem here. My DH's favorite cheese is brie. I might have to give that approach a try!

                        1. re: diablita FL

                          my VERY SILLY boydude loves polenta, but HATES grits, reguardless of how manytimes I've pointed out that they are in the same thing or how creamy i can make grits/polenta...he's got it in his mind he's not a grit liking kinda guy

                      2. re: oakjoan

                        I like it, I just don't usually luh-ove it! On the other hand, I LUH-OVE Cream of Wheat! That brings back memories of watching Mr. Rogers on the couch while my mom went to warm up the car! :-)

                        1. re: oakjoan


                          sort of bingo to the way my husband is too

                    2. Sounds very similar to my borrowed method, but I use the microwave. I use a 2 qt pyrex measure cup, with 4 c water(any part any flavor broth), 1 c polenta, pinch thyme, s&p, cover with a plate, and set microwave on high for 14 minutes. Stir at approx. 4, 8, and 12 minutes.

                      Remove from mw, season with 1 T unsalted butter, 2 T mascarpone, 2 T grated hard cheese, adjust salt.

                      Pretty quick. Loveley served soft under lamb shanks or any rich stewed meats and veggies, or spread on a cookie sheet to cool and grill squares later. Or spread 1/3" thick and cut into strips for a stacked veg and cheese casserole, lasagne style.

                      thanks for the idea--I'll make some tonight to serve under my coq au vin. ooooo-o-o-o.

                      1. Thank you to the MAX, thew !!