Serves: Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil
- ½cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 4 cups water, or 2 cups each low-sodium chicken broth and water, plus more as needed
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal or polenta
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 cup cubed mozzarella cheese
Procedures:Stirring polenta over low heat until the texture is soft and the flavor is sweet requires time, patience, and fortitude. Here, the double boiler comes to the rescue. Cook and stir the polenta in the top part over direct heat for a short period and then place it over simmering water in the bottom portion. The polenta will cook slowly without needing stirring and will emerge soft and fluffy 45 labor-free minutes later.
- Heat the butter in the top of a large double boiler over low heat until melted. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add 2 cups of the water and bring to a boil.
- In a bowl, stir together the cornmeal, the remaining 2 cups of water, and the salt until blended. Slowly whisk the wet cornmeal mixture into the boiling liquid until blended. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, until the polenta begins to thicken.
- Add water to a depth of 2 inches to the bottom of the double boiler and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Place the top of the double boiler with the precooked polenta over the simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the top part is not touching the water. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook the polenta for 45 minutes, or until thick and fluffy. Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano and mozzarella until melted. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt.
- Serve at once or keep warm over hot water until ready to serve, up to 1 hour. If the polenta gets too thick, stir in a small amount of water, broth, or milk to thin to the desired consistency.