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Simple Polenta

2 cups boiling water
1 cup cold water
1 cup coarse cornmeal
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs olive oil

Bring the water to a boil. Mix together the cornmeal, salt, and
cold water, and add to the boiling water, medium-high heat, while
stirring. Stir frequently until thoroughly thickened, stir in the
olive oil, then cover and cook over low heat 30-45 minutes, stirring
occasionally. Can be served immediately, soft, or poured onto an
oiled plate and allowed to set; bake, broil, or saute to reheat.
I usually triple this recipe and let it set in a 9"x12" pan. Serve
with whatever sauce you fancy. (If you use butter instead of olive
oil, you can also serve it sweet with maple syrup.)

Cleaning the pan immediately is very difficult, but if you soak it
overnight, the caked-on cornmeal mush comes right off.

Don't make the mistake of mixing the cold water and cornmeal ahead
of time, it will glop up. Do it just before you pour it into the
boiling water. (Mixing with cold water prevents lumps.)

I like very coarse cornmeal (sometimes sold as corn grits, but
that's different from hominy grits); medium-coarse is more traditional.
You can experiment with proportions of water and cornmeal--I wouldn't
go thicker than this, but some recipes go as thin as 5:1. You can
also substitute milk for some or all of the water, producing a
richer polenta.


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