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Basic Polenta


9 Cups Water
1 Teaspoon Salt
3 Cups Cornmeal; coarse.grain


Bring water to a boil in a large heavy pot. Add salt and reduce heat until
water is simmering. Take cornmeal by the handful and add to water very
slowly, controlling the flow to a thin stream through your fingers. To avoid
lumps, stir quickly with a long handled wooden spoon while adding cornmeal.
If necessary, stop adding cornmeal from time to time and beat mixture
vigorously. Cook, stirring constantly, 20 to 30 minutes. Polenta will become
very thick while cooking. It is done when it comes away cleanly from the
sides of the pot. Pour polenta into a large wooden board or a large platter.
Wet your hands and smooth out polenta evenly, about 2 inches thick. Let cool
5 to 10 minutes or until polenta solidifies. Cut cooled polenta into slices
1 inch wide and 6 inches long. Place slices in individual dishes. Serve hot,
covered with your favorite sauce. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Variation: Fried Polenta (Polenta Fritta): Prepare polenta and let cool
completely. Cut cooled polenta into slices 2 inches wide and 6 inches long.
Pour oil about 1 inch deep in a large skillet. Heat oil until a 1.inch cube
of bread turns golden almost immediately. Fry polenta slices on both sides
until light golden. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot. It is importent to
insure the oil is hot enough, otherwise the polenta will absorb oil and your
polenta will be greasy and unpalatable.


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