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Shortcut Polenta

Scott Phillips

Servings: 9

Making soft, golden polenta with the traditional Italian method usually takes 30 minutes to an hour. But this genius shortcut—pouring boiling water over the polenta in the morning and letting it sit on the counter during the workday—cuts the cooking time down to less than 15 minutes. Polenta is wonderfully forgiving: You can adjust the texture by adding a little more broth or water for a looser result, or cook the polenta longer, stirring often at the end, if you like it thicker.


  • 11 oz. (2 cups) polenta (not instant or quick-cooking)
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 3 cups lower-salt chicken broth or water; more as needed
  • Fine sea salt
  • 2 oz. (2 cups) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; more for serving
  • 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 240
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 70
  • Fat (g): 7
  • Saturated Fat (g): 4
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Cholesterol (mg): 20
  • Sodium (mg): 430
  • Carbohydrates (g): 34
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 8


Soak the polenta

  • Put the polenta in a 4-quart heavy-duty saucepan and whisk in the boiling water. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 8 and up to 12 hours.

Cook the polenta

  • In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Whisk the broth and 1 tsp. salt into the polenta, loosening it and breaking up any clumps. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking once or twice, about 5 minutes.
  • Turn the heat down to maintain a simmer and continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the polenta thickens from soupy to porridge-like, about 2 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 the 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 the heat, and stir in the cheese, butter, and 1/2 tsp. pepper until the butter is melted. Season to taste and serve right away, passing more cheese at the table.

Make Ahead Tips

Once soaked, the polenta can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days before cooking.


Rate or Review

Reviews (10 reviews)

  • User avater
    BarryKStanley | 05/21/2019

    Awesome work...

  • User avater
    KarinMNagel | 05/13/2019

    Awesome dish!

  • User avater
    KathrynLeathers | 02/05/2019

    Really nice dish. Taste is also very delicious.

  • User avater
    EvaDBryant | 01/22/2019

    I really like this dish. I also try this at home!

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