Venetian-Style Milk Polenta

Polenta alla Veneziana con il Latte

The cooking of Venice is Italy’s most light-handed, and it is reflected in this delicate, less rustic-tasting polenta. I first tasted this dish after settling in Venice, when I began to eat in people’s houses both in the city and in the farms just beyond the bridge connecting the city of canals to the mainland.


  • cups water
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound coarse-grained yellow cornmeal


  1. Put the water, milk, and salt in a copper polenta pot or a heavy-bottomed large saucepan, turn the heat on to medium, and bring to a steady but moderate boil.
  2. Pour a fistful of the cornmeal into the pot in a very thin stream, letting it trickle through nearly closed fingers. You should be able to see some of the cornmeal’s individual grains spilling into the pot. While you pour the cornmeal, stir it with a whisk, keeping the water and milk always at a steady, but moderate boil.
  3. When all the cornmeal is in the pot, begin to stir with a long-handled wooden spoon, stirring continuously and with thoroughness, bringing the mixture up from the bottom, and loosening it from the sides of the pot. Continue to stir for 40 to 45 minutes. The meal and milk mush is fully transformed into polenta when it becomes a mass that, when you stir it, pulls cleanly away from the sides of the pot. Serve while still soft and hot.