Basic Polenta

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About


  • 1.75 litres/3 pints/ cups cold water
  • sea salt
  • 250 g/8 oz/1⅓ cups ground polenta/cornmeal


  1. Pour the water into a wide, heavy, preferably copper pan and place it over a high heat. Bring the water to the boil.
  2. Trickle the polenta into the boiling water in a fine rain with one hand, and whisk constantly with the other.
  3. When all the polenta has been whisked into the water, reduce the heat to a medium to low flame and then begin to stir with a strong, long-handled wooden spoon until the polenta comes away from the sides of the pan. This will take 40-50 minutes and requires patience, energy and a strong elbow.
  4. Turn out the polenta on to a wooden board and smooth it into a mounded shape with spatulas.
  5. Leave it to stand for about 5 minutes, then cut it into slabs and serve hot with its accompanying stew, fricassee or casserole, or with a slice of very strong-flavoured cheese such as Gorgonzola.
  6. Alternatively, leave it to go completely cold, then slice it like bread and grill, broil, fry or bake it as required.