Recipe | Basic Polenta
- 1/4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 4 fresh bay leaves
- 2 cups Marsh Hen Mill Polenta
- 1 to 2 cups freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Up to 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (optional, but nice when you want a richer polenta)
- In a medium Dutch oven, combine 10 cups cold water, the olive oil, salt, and bay leaves.
- Put the Polenta in a spouted measuring cup for easy pouring.
- With the heat still off, whisk the water with one hand and pour in the polenta in a thin stream.
- Keep whisking until all of the polenta is incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
- Turn the heat to medium low, and gently bring the polenta to a simmer, whisking frequently, making sure to get the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Once the polenta is simmering and thickening, switch to stirring with a wooden spoon.
- When the polenta is boiling and has become very thick, adjust the heat so just a few bubbles perk to the surface, and cover the pot with the lid ajar.
- Cook, stirring frequently, making sure to get in the corners and bottom so the polenta doesn't burn, until the polenta is glossy and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 20 to 25 minutes from the time it began to simmer.
- To finish the polenta, remove the pot from eat and vigorously beat in the grated cheese. Start with 1 cup, and add up to 2, depending on your taste.
- If using butter, beat it in a few tablespoons at a time incorporating it completely before adding more.
- Discard bay leaves. Polenta will retain its heat for up to 30 minutes.
- If you want to chill the polenta to fry or grill it, cover it with plastic wrap to keep a crust from forming.
Cold polenta will keep in the refrigerator in plastic wrap for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.