This is hands-down the best polenta recipe I know, especially since it doesn't require stirring. 1 first presented this recipe in my Mediterranean Grains & Greens; I repeat it here for new readers.
This no-stir method—combining cornmeal, water, and a little salt in an oiled casserole and roasting it in the oven, as opposed to frequent stirring in a pot on the stove—produces wondrous, creamy, and seductive polenta. Cooking it this way takes longer than on top of the stove, but it will leave you free to take care of whatever else you'll be serving.
Varying the proportion of water to cornmeal enables you to adjust the consistency of the polenta from runny to firm, and enables the polenta to take on many guises from a simple steaming bowl of cornmeal mush served with a little grated cheese to a delicious bed for stews and ragouts.
FOR SOFT POLENTA 5 parts liquid to 1 part cornmeal
FOR MEDIUM POLENTA 4 parts liquid to 1 part cornmeal
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert. Copyright © 2003 by Paula Wolfert. Photographs copyright © by Christopher Hirsheimer. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.