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Marcella Hazan's Basic Polenta

Author and cooking teacher Marcella Hazan prefers this method.

6 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups coarse-grained cornmeal

Bring water to a boil in a large, heavy kettle. Add the salt, turn the heat down to medium low so that the water is just simmering, and add the cornmeal in a very thin stream, stirring with a stout, long wooden spoon. The stream of cornmeal must be so thin that you can see the individual grains. A good way to do it is to let a fistful of cornmeal run through nearly closed fingers. Never stop stirring, and keep the water at a slow, steady simmer.

To protect your arm, wear a cooking mitt. Continue stirring for 20 minutes after all the cornmeal has been added. The polenta is done when it tears away from the sides of the pot as you stir.

When done, pour the polenta onto a large wooden block or a platter. Allow it to cool first if you are going to slice it in preparation for subsequent cooking. Otherwise, serve it piping hot. Serves 4 to 6 persons.

Thursday, June 22, 2000

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