Cooking Polenta Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Cooking Polenta

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Polenta cornmeal is dried, ground corn1 or maize that is boiled to make a starchy substance which can have butter, parmesan cheese, chilli, or various herbs added to make it taste better. Polenta is a good source of carbohydrate, and goes well with vegetables, soups, vegetable stews and grilled meat.

Basic Polenta Recipe


  • 1-2 cups of liquid per 1 cup of polenta (can be water with some salt or stock or half-and-half milk and water)
  • Polenta
  • Butter
  • Hot chilli sauce or fresh herbs (sage, thyme, basil, etc)
  • All of the above to taste


  1. Boil the minimum amount of liquid in a saucepan that is twice as big as the amount of liquid that you are using.

  2. Once it is boiling add the polenta, stirring constantly. If it is too solid add more liquid until it is a thick paste.

  3. Bring back to the boil, and then turn the heat down and simmer until all the grains of the polenta have softened into each other. Make sure to stir it constantly otherwise it will stick and burn.

  4. Butter and/or parmesan cheese and herbs can be added and it can be served hot.

Alternatively, add only a small amount of butter, parmesan and herbs, pour into a greased cake tin or container and let it cool and set. Then once it is cool cut it into wedges or rectangles, brush it with olive oil and grill it on a ridged grill, until golden brown on both sides.

1Corn or maize was brought back to Europe by the early explorers, about 300 years ago, along with chillis, chocolate, tomatoes, potatoes, etc.

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