6 1/2 c. water
Salt and white pepper, to taste
2 c. coarse-grained cornmeal (do not futz with this; make sure it's the right stuff!)
2 eggs, beaten (optional)
1 cup pecorino, Romano or Parmesan cheese (optional)
I've seen polenta being served in many an upscale Italian restaurant in the North End and in other parts of the U.S. They make such a big deal of it, but my Nonie will be the first to tell you that, "Polenta is the food of the Peasant!" Not that that's a bad thing. When I was in the Italian town of Pianello for their Truffles and Mushroom Festival, they were serving fried Polenta with Gorgonzola sauce, and a "fizzante" red wine made by a local man. What an experience!
In a large pot, bring water to a simmer. Add salt and pepper.
Add cornmeal in a fine stream, stirring with a long handled wooden spoon. Make sure the stream is so thin that you can see the grains! Keep the water at a steady simmer. Never stop stirring until the cornmeal has been added (sometimes two people are better than one). (Otherwise you end up with lumpy stuff.)
Add two eggs and 1 cup of the cheese, stirring constantly (optional, but makes for a creamier, smoother and richer polenta).
The polenta is ready when is pulls away from the sides of the pot as you stir. Serve at once, or transfer to a mold to make firm polenta.
For a firm polenta, Pour the hot polenta into a lightly-buttered baking pan and smooth it on top. Let cool completely. When cool, slice into shapes for baking, grilling or frying.
Submitted by Diana Bogue Contributed on: and modified on Tuesday June 3rd, 2008