Add about 100 g of extra cheese (like fontina or a good sheep’s milk cheese) to make a richer, more lip-smacking dish - though you may need to reduce the salt at the start.
You can use white polenta made from white corn, if you can find it, for a more subtle result. Use the polenta as an accompaniment to a ragu of some kind, or ossobuco. Italians have told me to only stir in one direction, but I’ve found that it has made no difference to the end result when I reverse the stirring to rest my arm.
- 2 tsp salt
- 350 g (about 2 cups) polenta (see note)
- 100 g butter
- 100 g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
- Sea salt and freshly grated black pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Pour 2 litres of water into a large, heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Stirring continuously, add the salt, then the polenta. Bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat to as low as possible.
2. Cook, stirring continuously using a flat-bottomed spatula to stop it sticking, for at least 40 minutes. Less time means a lesser product; you’ll be able to smell a change in the polenta when it cooks for longer. Depending on the heat and your corn, it may get very thick, so add a little more water if you need to.
3. Stir in the butter and cheese until melted, then season to taste. Serve immediately.
•Matthew uses hand-milled corn which takes longer to cook than store-bought polenta. Try to find a non-instant version and taste/adjust cooking time according to its coarseness.
Photography by Tim Thatcher