You don’t need to slave over a hot stove stirring to make a pot of luscious polenta. There are ways to make fabulous polenta without the labor.
thew uses the oven, varying the amount of water depending on whether he’s intending to serve it soft or chill and slice it (less water gives a firmer result). In a shallow pan, stir together 1 cup polenta, 3 to 6 cups water, depending on desired texture, a bit of butter, and salt. Bake uncovered at 350°F for 40 minutes. Adjust seasonings and return to oven for 10 minutes. Add more butter and cheese if desired.
toodie jane makes polenta in the microwave with minimal stirring. In a 2-quart bowl, combine 4 cups water, 1 cup polenta, a pinch of thyme, and salt and pepper. Cover and microwave at high power for about 14 minutes, stirring at 4, 8, and 12 minutes. Finish with 1 tablespoon butter, 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese, grated cheese, and salt to taste.