Enrico’s Easy Polenta

From the back of the Golden Pheasant Polenta bag

1 cup polenta

3 1/4 cups lukewarm water

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon butter

¼ to ½ cup cheese, optional (Parmesan is traditional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ingredients in buttered 8-inch square pan. Stir with a fork until well blended. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes. Run fork through it and bake 10 minutes longer. Serve with butter and Parmesan cheese, or with your favorite tomato, meat, or vegetable sauce. Serves 6.

Laurie’s Notes:

I wasn’t sure whether this would be creamy or firm polenta. Since I wanted creamy, I added a bit more water (since the usual stove-top ratio is 4 cups of water to 1 cup polenta). I used 3 ½ cups, and it turned out perfectly (creamy).

You can used olive oil in place of butter.

I stirred in ½ cup of Parmesan cheese at the end of the cooking time; you could also sprinkle it on top.

I spoon creamy polenta into shallow bowls and top it with sauce, with or without meat. If cooking for both meat eaters and vegetarians, I serve grilled or pan fried sausage on the side.

WHILE STILL HOT, pour the leftover polenta into a square container. As it cools, it will firm. Refrigerate it, then slice it the next morning and fry it. Great breakfast when fried in butter and topped with maple syrup! Or fry it for dinner and top it with leftover sauce.