Polenta or cornmeal is an Italian favorite made from coarsely ground bits of corn. Cooked like a porridge this fabulous grain transforms into a solid shape when cooled. Slice polenta into squares and use as a base for a red sauce, meat, or sautéed vegetables.


1 cup polenta
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups of water

Pour 3 cups of cold water into a medium-sized saucepan and place on the stove set to medium high. Add the salt and polenta and stir with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to low when the pan begins to bubble. Caution, polenta can pop out of the saucepan if it boils. Continue stirring, the water will evaporate and the polenta will thicken. Stir until the porridge is thick and holds it shape when pushed to one side of the pan.

Pour into a 3.37 x 6 x 11.38-inch glass loaf pan (1.5 quart). Use a spatula to scrape out all the porridge. Smooth the top of the polenta and pat down.

Yield: 1 cup of polenta will almost triple in size.