I don't consider the stuff in the cylinder polenta. Get the polenta in the package. I tend to prefer the quick-cooking polenta, which takes about 2-3 minutes after the water is boiling.
I add salt and olive oil to the water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, take the pot off the stove, whisk in polenta in a constant, slow stream, then return to the heat.
Constantly whisk the polenta until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat, then whisk in grated parmigiano, and serve. Sometimes I also add some gorgonzola dolce and a touch of cream for a softer polenta that acts as a nice base for a variety of dishes.
On cold days when I want a hearty meal, I'll make polenta, then top with some ragu or sauteed wild mushrooms deglazed with red wine. Serve with Chianti, Rosso di Montalcino, or Barbera, and it's a great lunch.
Anyway, since you already got the crappy kind Slice it and put it in a pan with a bit of olive oil till it's golden brown. Serve it as a side. You really gotta find the other kind and you'll see the difference.
boil with water, milk, salt, pepper, a hint nutmeg - at the end (40 min - 2 hours later, depens on the quality, but cooking it slow) add butter and parmesan. you can make it more liquid (similar to risotto) or cook it to get harder - it's a question of taste.
sometimes i do start with sautee ognions, add a hint garlic, and a bit white wine, fill with bouillon or water (no milk here!), finish with butter, and cheese as liked.
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