Truly Creamy Polenta

After jumping through the hoops (and double-boilers) of countless polenta recipes and never achieving that perfectly creamy, belly-warming texture, David Tanis' polenta from his inspired cookbook, Platter of Figs, is a revelation - not too difficult and totally satisfying. Finally!

  • 2 cups polenta
  • 8 cups water
  • salt
  • milk
  • butter, 6 tablespoons

Here are Tanis' instructions.....

Bring water to a boil. Add 1 - 1/2 teaspoons salt and 2 cups polenta. Slowly add polenta to the hot water and whisk well. When liquid returns to a boil and polenta begins to thicken after a minute or two, turn flame down to low heat. Continue to stir while polenta gets its bearings. Polenta should continue to cook at a very low simmer. Stir every 5 to 10 minutes. If polenta starts to get too thick add a splash of milk occasionally. (We add a splash at every stir).

After 45 minutes, polenta should be nearly done. When tasting for doneness, you are looking for a smooth creamy texture, not at all grainy.

Now add salt and pepper, another splash of milk, and stir well. Cook for 15 minutes longer, taste again. Stir in 6 tablespoons of softened butter. Turn off heat, cover polenta, and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving. Covered, it will stay warm and creamy for up to an hour.

Even with just the simplest addition of Parmesan and butter, this polenta is totally satisfying. As you can see from the photo, we ate polenta with the roasted wild chanterelles and fennel-spiked sausage. I want another bowl already.

Serves 6


  1. I was thinking of getting the Platter of Figs cookbook... this looks delicious!

  2. Run out and buy it! David Tanis'recipes are inspired - simple, elegant, and delicious. I am such a fan.

  3. oh amazing, finally a polenta recipe i can use for winter time!

  4. Thanks. I hope you enjoy it as much I we do!

  5. Such an inviting photo! Wonderful recipe.

  6. Although this is a belly warming supper, I could have this meal in the middle of summer!! My daughter ordered mushrooms for supper, think I'll treat her to this recipe!!!

  7. Sure, why not have polenta in the summer? Plus if you bake the leftover polenta and top it with honey and butter, you will be so happy!

  8. I adore helping the polenta to get its bearings. Even if I am not sure I have my bearing or that I am helping my mate or spawn to get their bearings, at least I can be there for my polenta.

  9. Omg - fantastic polenta recipe. And I grew up on the firm kind....
    made a Brasata al Barolo with it. PERFECT! Thanks for the recipe!

  10. Yay! Thanks for letting me know that the recipe worked for you. I love it too - thank you David Tanis:)

    I bet your Brasata al Barolo was perfect over the creamy polenta. What a bowl of comfort food. Yum.



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