Polenta, writes Chez Panisse’s Cal Peternell in Twelve Recipes, is “more ratio than recipe.” The standard is 4 parts water to 1 part polenta, simmered for 30 minutes. Be careful to add the polenta to the boiling water in a slow, steady stream with one hand as you whisk with the other—this will prevent lumps from forming. (If you end up with a few lumps despite your best efforts, don’t sweat it; it’ll still taste delicious.) Enriching it at the end with butter and cheese isn’t strictly necessary, so feel free to leave them out. Soft polenta is the perfect accompaniment to crisp-skinned porchetta.