Polenta is nothing more than coarsely ground cornmeal. The classic ratio is 1 part polenta to 4 parts water, but I like to measure the polenta just a little scant of a full cup. I often use chicken broth instead of water. It's a perfect base for any kind of saucy meat or mushroom ragout.

Chef John
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Ingredients

4
Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Bring water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan; pour polenta slowly into boiling water, whisking constantly until all polenta is stirred in and there are no lumps.

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  • Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until polenta starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Polenta mixture should still be slightly loose. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, whisking every 5 to 6 minutes. When polenta is too thick to whisk, stir with a wooden spoon. Polenta is done when texture is creamy and the individual grains are tender.

  • Turn off heat and gently stir 2 tablespoons butter into polenta until butter partially melts; mix 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into polenta until cheese has melted. Cover and let stand 5 minutes to thicken; stir and taste for salt before transferring to a serving bowl. Top polenta with remaining 1 tablespoon butter and about 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish.

Cook's Note:

Cooking time will depend on the grind of the polenta, so you'll have to adjust accordingly.

Partner Tip

Reynolds® Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

291 calories; 14.7 g total fat; 33 mg cholesterol; 1186 mg sodium. 31 g carbohydrates; 9.2 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (146)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
03/20/2017
I mix 1 c. of cornmeal with 1 c. cold water stir into 3 c. of boiling water. Much easier than stirring in dry cornmeal. Read More
(52)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
02/20/2017
idk man this shits bland af Read More
(15)
190 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 171
  • 4 star values: 17
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
03/20/2017
I mix 1 c. of cornmeal with 1 c. cold water stir into 3 c. of boiling water. Much easier than stirring in dry cornmeal. Read More
(52)
Rating: 4 stars
03/20/2017
I mix 1 c. of cornmeal with 1 c. cold water stir into 3 c. of boiling water. Much easier than stirring in dry cornmeal. Read More
(52)
Rating: 5 stars
07/27/2014
Thanksssss!!!!!! I came from Argentina and polenta is really big , but you make it from an instant packet. Here I only can find it in the latin store and is very expensive. This is a great way of making polenta really chip. I found that using corn meal from the package doesn't come very tasty, I have a blender that I put corn for popcorn and makes it into corn meal. Read More
(52)
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Rating: 5 stars
07/08/2014
Chef John you've done it again....this was perfect as promised. I was looking for a polenta recipe that didn't call for milk or cream and this was it! Followed the recipe exactly with grits (it's all I had on hand) except that I put in the grits into cold water to avoid lumps. Perfect side for meat! And the leftovers.....glorious when fried on both sides, then covered with spaghetti sauce, cheese, artichokes, roasted red peppers - whatever you have in your fridge. I might start making polenta just for the leftovers! Read More
(32)
Rating: 5 stars
12/22/2013
Watching the video really helped! This was my first time making polenta, but most certainly won't be the last. Thick, creamy, smooth, warm, cheesy, perfect. Read More
(24)
Rating: 3 stars
02/20/2017
idk man this shits bland af Read More
(15)
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Rating: 5 stars
01/13/2014
made polenta for the first time but substituted 2 cups water to milk turned out really nice. I should say be careful with salt as the cheese also adds it. Read More
(15)
Rating: 5 stars
03/09/2014
This was really good and quite easy. It cooked up a lot quicker for me, I have a flat top stove so I probably needed to have it set on a lower setting, I'll remember that next time. Still it came out so smooth and tasty! And easier than I imagined, I've never even had polenta until recently, so I'm really glad to have a new option to serve with meals. I also watched the video so that made me feel a lot more confident to try this. Read More
(11)
Rating: 5 stars
06/19/2014
This was great! My picky preteen enjoyed it. He grunted and when done went to the kitchen to put more in his bowl. I had powdered bouillon that I added to the water and it came out so very flavorful. I topped this with roasted peppers asparagus meatballs and grated Parmesan cheese. Thank you for the recipe! Read More
(9)
Rating: 5 stars
03/28/2014
Used this recipe and topped with Italian sausage and red sauce very good just like mom's. P.S. "fun girl":D it's Italian all right but the f-word. Read More
(8)