I cheated last week and learned an interesting lesson. It was a weeknight, and I was in a hurry to get dinner on the table. My planned menu was soft polenta with grilled vegetables and Italian sausages. As I opened the bag of polenta, I noticed a recipe for quick polenta--cooked in the microwave--on the back of the package. As a cooking purist, I felt I was cheating, and I was certain Italian grandmothers would be wagging their fingers at me.
But no one was looking, so I tried the recipe. Guess what? It worked. I had soft polenta in 15 minutes, stirred only twice, and had enough left over for the main recipe below.
To make a double batch of polenta in the microwave, combine 1 1/2 cups polenta, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 6 cups water in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high 10 minutes. Stir well, cover and microwave 5 more minutes. Spoon out 4 portions for soft polenta. Spread the rest in a buttered jelly roll pan into a 12x10-inch rectangle that’s 1/2 inch thick (it will not fill the pan). Cool, cover and refrigerate.
Morgan is author of “Cooking for the Week: Leisurely Weekend Cooking for Easy Weekday Meals,” (Chronicle Books).