← Back to Search Results
Making Polenta Recipe-2763

Photo by:
Comments: 1


There is both yellow and white polenta, depending on whether one uses meal from yellow or white corn, but yellow polenta is more common. The cornmeal itself may be either fine-grained or coarse. Coarse-grained yellow cornmeal is more robustly satisfying in texture and flavor, and it is the one suggested below.

Yield: About 4 cups


  • 7 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 2/3 cups coarse-grained imported Italian yellow cornmeal


  • An 8- to 10-cup bowl, preferably steel or copper


1. Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy pot.

2. Add the salt, keep the water boiling at medium-high heat, and add the cornmeal in a very thin stream, letting a fistful of it run through nearly closed fingers. You should be able to see the individual grains spilling into the pot. The entire time you are adding the cornmeal, stir it with a whisk, and make sure the water is always boiling.

3. When you have put in all the meal, begin to stir with a long-handled wooden spoon, stirring continuously and with thoroughness, bringing the mixture up from the bottom, and loosening it from the sides of the pot. Continue to stir for 40 to 45 minutes. The cornmeal becomes polenta when it forms a mass that pulls cleanly away from the sides of the pot.

4. Moisten the inside of the bowl with cold water. Turn the polenta out of the pot and into the bowl. After 10 to 15 minutes, turn the bowl over onto a wooden block or a large round platter, unmolding the polenta, which will have a dome-like shape.

5. If serving it soft and hot, serve it at once. You may, if you wish, scoop out the upper central portion of the dome and fill it with whatever you have prepared to go with the polenta—sausages, pork ribs, a veal, beef, or lamb stew, fricasseed chicken, and so on.


Note on consistency: As it begins to cool, polenta should be thick, and when moved, firm enough to quiver. From an Italian point of view, it is least appealing when it is as thin and runny as breakfast oatmeal.

If you are going to let it become completely cold and firm and later slice it, do not put the hot polenta in a bowl, but spread it flat on a board to a thickness of about 3 inches.

Ahead-of-time note: If you are planning to slice polenta and grill it, bake it, or fry it, you must make it several hours in advance. It will keep for several days in the refrigerator. If you are refrigerating it for a few days, keep it whole, in one piece, and wrap it tightly with foil or plastic wrap.

Cleaning the pot: After emptying the polenta from the pot, fill it with cold water and set it aside to soak overnight. In the morning most of the cornmeal film attached to the pot lifts off easily. If you are using an Italian-made unlined copper polenta pot, after emptying it in the morning and scraping away all the loosened residues, clean it with ¼ cup of vinegar and some salt. Rinse with plain water, without using any detergent, and wipe dry. Whenever you use an unlined copper pot, go over it again with vinegar and salt, and rinse thoroughly with plain water before each use.

© 1992 Marcella Hazan

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information is based on 8 servings.

120kcal (6%)
631mg (26%)
2g (3%)
0g (2%)
0mg (0%)
0mcg RAE (0%)
0mg (0%)
2mg (0%)
1mg (5%)

Would you like to leave a comment about this recipe?

Notify me of new comments on this recipe. Add comment

We'd love to hear what you think!

Please or to add a comment to this recipe.
  • lownbrow

    01.11.11 Flag comment

    Bloody hell mate, stirring continuously for 45 minutes I do believe my wanking arm my fall off. I'm sure it bakes perfectly fine polenta but I am wondering if this rigorous technique is required versus say a very, very low heat, stirring occasionally. I'll ponder that one over a lovely pint of ale.

Free Activity Kit for Love Monster and the Last Chocolate!

Sign up for
The Cookstr Weekly

Free handpicked cookbook recipes delivered straight to your inbox

Explore Cookbooks on Cookstr

the-country-cooking-of-ireland The Country Cooking of Ireland
by Colman Andrews
desserts-4-today Desserts 4 Today
by Abby Dodge
big-fat-cookies Big Fat Cookies
by Elinor Klivans
the-mozza-cookbook The Mozza Cookbook
by Nancy Silverton
american-masala American Masala
by Suvir Saran
the-vegetable-dishes-i-cant-live-without The Vegetable Dishes I Can'...
by Mollie Katzen, Greg Atkinson
cook-with-jamie Cook with Jamie
by Jamie Oliver
urban-italian-simple-recipes-and-true-stories-from-a-life-in-food Urban Italian: Simple Recip...
by Andrew Carmellini
rice Rice
by Bonnie Tandy Leblang, Joanne Lamb Hayes
the-provence-cookbook The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
food-to-live-by Food to Live By
by Myra Goodman
a-new-way-to-cook A New Way to Cook
by Sally Schneider
rosas-new-mexican-table-friendly-recipes-for-festive-meals Rosa's New Mexican Table: F...
by Roberto Santibanez
complete-book-of-indian-cooking-350-recipes-from-the-regions-of-india Complete Book of Indian Coo...
by Suneeta Vaswani

Thanks for signing up!

You'll receive an activation email in your inbox shortly. Don't forget to click that link and activate your new Cookstr.com account!

Already a member? Sign in here

Sign up for Cookstr!

  • Receive a free, handpicked selection of recipes in your inbox weekly
  • Save, share and comment on your favorite recipes in My Cookstr
  • Get updates on new cookbooks, Cookstr features, and other exclusives we know you'll love
By signing up you accept the
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
New to Cookstr? Sign up here
Thanks for commenting!
Would you like to share your comment on Facebook or Twitter?