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soft polenta - help

wickalicious | Jan 9, 200610:10 PM

So, I had a bit of a polenta disaster on the weekend. Every italian cookbook i have (and i have many) indicates that polenta should take between 40 min and an hour to cook into that delectable porridge that makes such a nice base for a good meaty sauce. Every time I've tried to make soft polenta, though, it looks done after about 20 minutes. When I made it on Saturday night, I tried cooking it for as long as the books suggested - and after about 30 minutes of cooking, I essentially had firm polenta attempting to weld itself to my pot. (It was still tasty, just not what I was looking for).

Any ideas why my experience is so different from the conventional wisdom? I'm not using instant polenta, just the same generic stone-ground cornmeal I use to make cornbread. The cooking method is the straight up 'boil water and drop in polenta a grain at a time while stirring till your arm falls off' thing. I'm cooking over low heat. Should I just thank my lucky stars that I have some sort of fast polenta karma and just pull it off the stove when it looks done to me?

Any thoughts would be helpful...my nonna is long dead, and I'm sure she's rolling in her grave watching me bastardize her favourite dish.

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