About this recipe

Polenta is cornmeal. Before it became trendy, people used to eat it because it was cheap. Now we never have it. Try it out; it’s good (and cheap).


Bring to a boil:

  • 8 cups water,
  • 2 tsp. salt.

Turn burner to lowest setting and whisk in:

  • 1 lb. (2 cups) cornmeal (one handful at a time).

Leave on burner for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a big honking wooden spoon to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. Then shut off burner and let set for 10 minutes.

Spread onto dinner plates, about ½ inch thick. Top with Ragù Sauce made with mushrooms and Parmesan cheese, or sausages fried in olive oil.


  • If you’re short on cornmeal, mix in a little semolina.
  • The thicker version served with fish sauce on Christmas Eve is called polentone.
  • If making polentone to eat with fish sauce, let cool longer (outside if it’s winter) so it hardens.
    You can also fry polenta. In this case, let it harden before putting into pan. Frying makes it even harder, kind of like a corn biscuit. Then top with some form of sauce.

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