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Creamy Parmesan Polenta

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Creamy Parmesan Polenta
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Makes: 4 servings adjust
A good recipe for polenta with a greatly reduced amount of stirring.


Coarse-ground degerminated cornmeal such as yellow grits (with grains the size of couscous) or cornmeal marked as polenta works best in this recipe. Avoid instant and quick-cooking products, as well as whole-grain, stone-ground, and regular cornmeal.

DO NOT omit the baking soda! —It is what cuts the cooking time in half and eliminates the need for stirring.



  • 7 12 cups Water
  • 1 12 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 pinch Baking Soda

Step 1

Bring water to boil in heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in salt and baking soda (see Note in recipe description).


  • 1 12 cups Course Ground Cornmeal, or polenta (see note in recipe description)

Step 2

Slowly pour cornmeal into water in steady stream, while stirring back and forth with wooden spoon or rubber spatula.

Step 3

Bring mixture to boil, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.

Step 4

Reduce heat to lowest possible setting and cover. NOTE: The polenta should do little more than release wisps of steam. If it bubbles or sputters even slightly after the first 10 minutes, the heat is too high and you may need a flame tamer, available at most kitchen supply stores.

Step 5

After 5 minutes, whisk polenta to smooth out any lumps that may have formed, about 15 seconds. (Make sure to scrape down sides and bottom of pan.)

Step 6

Cover and continue to cook, without stirring, until grains of polenta are tender but slightly al dente, about 25 minutes longer. (Polenta should be loose and barely hold its shape but will continue to thicken as it cools.)


  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 4 ounces Parmesan Cheese, grated; about 2 cups
  • Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Step 7

Remove from heat, stir in butter and Parmesan, and season to taste with black pepper.

Step 8

Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Serve!
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