I love polenta but a good polenta has to cook for at least 45 minutes for the corn flavor to be released.
This is the recipe for Classic Polenta making from the Cambridge Culinary School:
Since polenta is basically just a combination of cornmeal and water, it is important to start with a good quality cornmeal. A medium grind is best for both flavor and texture, and, just as with cream of wheat, instant quick cooking versions of polenta lack both.
Polenta can be made to serve soft and creamy. Or, it can be allowed to firm and then sliced. Once sliced, it can be grilled, sautéed, or roasted. This recipe is for soft polenta.
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 cups coarse grained Italian yellow cornmeal (polenta; not instant)
2-4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pats
2⁄3 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Heat an additional few cups of water in a second smaller saucepan. To the large saucepan of boiling water, add the salt and then the polenta in a steady stream, stirring constantly with a whisk to avoid lumps and having the meal seize up.
Lower the heat and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon more or less constantly, for 30-45 minutes. (It takes about 30 minutes to develop the flavors of the corn; it can cook much longer). As the polenta thickens, add small increments of hot water to continue to keep it creamy and pourable, like the consistency of honey. Upon cooking for 30-45 minutes, add the butter and cheese and adjust seasoning. Serve soft polenta immediately or keep it warm over a double boiler, stirring and adding more hot water as needed to keep loose, until ready to serve. To serve, pour polenta onto a platter or into a serving bowl.
Now the short cut version from Maria Speck:
2 cups of corn meal
3 cups of boiling water
3 cups of lower-salt chicken broth or water, more as needed ( I only use water)
Fine sea salt
2 cups finely grated Parmigina-Reggiano; more for serving
3 TBs unsalted bitter cut into 6 pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
Soak the Polenta:
Put the polenta in a 4-quart heavy-duty saucepan and wish in the boiling water. Cover and let it sit at room temperature for at least 8 and up to 12 hours (you can refrigerate the polenta at this point for up to 2 days).
Cook the Polenta:
In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the broth (or water) to a boil. Whisk the broth and 1 tsp. salt into the polenta, loosing it and breaking up any clumps. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking once of twice, about 5 minutes.
Turn the heat down to low. Cover and cook, stirring vigorously and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula every couple of minutes. When you can see he bottom of the pan as you drag the spoon across it, 5 to 10 minutes later, begin tasting the polenta; it’s done when it’s thick, creamy and tender. It should be granular, but not gritty.
Remove from heat, and stir n the butter, cheese and 1/2 tsp. pepper until butter is melted. Season to taste and sever right away, passing more cheese at the table.
Again, neither recipes are mine but they are both delicious. I find, that when I use the Shortcut to polenta I use a lot more water than it ask for. It is a good idea to keep an extra pot with hot water in case you need to add more.
Enjoy!!! I just make over the weekend with chicken and okra. (frango com quiabo). Very yummy.