Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
- 7 cups (1.75 liters) cold water
- 1 Tablespoon (17 grams) salt
- 1 ⅔ cups (286 grams) coarsely ground cornmeal
- Bring the water to a rolling boil in a large, heavy pot. Add the salt and stir to dissolve completely. Return the water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add in the cornmeal in a thin, steady stream while whisking constantly. Keep the water boiling as you add in the cornmeal. Once all the cornmeal has been added to the water, switch to a long-handled wooden or silicone spoon and stir constantly and thoroughly, making sure to reach the spoon into the bottom and sides of the pot to incorporate all the cornmeal. Lower the heat to medium-low but keep the mixture bubbling gently but steadily. Stir continuously for 40-45 minutes, or up to 1 hour if necessary. The cornmeal will thicken as it cooks and you will have increased resistance as you stir it. Once the polenta begins to pull cleanly away from the sides of the pot and has reached a creamy, smooth, and flowing consistency, it is ready. Add in a tablespoon of unsalted butter if desired and stir in until it melts in completely. Serve hot.