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Soft Polenta in the Microwave

With the microwave oven, the polenta is stirred only once during the entire cooking time; it is guaranteed lumpless, and it can be made for one or for a crowd. If you can cook this in a serving dish, choose one with a cover; it will prevent the polenta from forming a skin and will, at the same time, keep it hot.

4 cups water
3/4 cup yellow or white cornmeal
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Good pinch freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup softened gorgonzola cheese OR 1/4 cup additional butter

Combine water, cornmeal and salt in a 2-quart souffle dish. Cook, uncovered, at 100 percent power for 6 minutes. Stir well, cover loosely with paper toweling and cook for 6 minutes more. (If using a small oven, cook uncovered for 9 minutes; cover loosely and cook for 9 minutes more.)

Remove from oven. Uncover and stir in butter, pepper and cheese (or additional butter). Let stand for 3 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 8 as a side dish.

To serve 1 or 2: Quarter all ingredients (use 3 tablespoons cornmeal). Proceed as for Soft Polenta above, cooking in a soup bowl for 1 minute 30 seconds, uncovered, and then for another 1 minute 30 seconds, covered.

To serve 3 or 4: Combine 2 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup cornmeal and 1 teaspoon salt in an 8-cup glass measure. Cook as for Soft Polenta above for 5 minutes. Stir and continue cooking for 5 minutes longer. Finish as for Soft Polenta, stirring in 2 tablespoons butter and a pinch of pepper.

"Microwave Gourmet" by Barbara Kafka.

Thursday, June 22, 2000



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