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Never Stir Again Polenta


By Martha Rose Shulman for the New York Times

I love polenta, but the endless stirring kept me from making it much. Then I found Martha Rose Schulman's microwave method that takes 14 minutes without more than a quick stir between three short periods in the microwave. And so far, I haven't detected any difference between this polenta and the kind that takes much more time and energy.


¾ cup polenta
¾ teaspoon salt
710 ml3 cups water
15 ml1 tablespoon olive oil


1. Combine the polenta, salt and water in a 2 1/2- to 3-quart microwave-safe bowl, and stir together. Cover the bowl with a plate, and place in the microwave. Microwave on high for eight minutes.
2. Remove the bowl from the microwave carefully, wearing oven mitts, as it will be quite hot. Carefully remove the plate from the top, opening away from your face, and allow the steam to escape. Stir in the olive oil, and mix well with a fork.
3. Cover the bowl again with the plate and return to the microwave. Microwave on high for three minutes. Again, remove from the microwave carefully, wearing oven mitts. Carefully remove the plate from the top, and allow the steam to escape. Stir the polenta, and return to the microwave for three more minutes. Carefully remove from the microwave, and give a final stir.
4. There are several ways to serve the polenta: Pour it into a lightly oiled bread pan or a flat baking pan. When the polenta is cool, brush on a thin coating of olive oil, cut it into serving pieces (slices if using a bread pan or squares if using a baking pan) and sear or broil them until warm and toasted at the edges. Alternatively, you can stir and serve the polenta right out of the microwave when it is still soft.


Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)
305 calories; 6 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 1 gram monounsaturated fat; 0 grams polyunsaturated fat; 54 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 1 gram sugars; 4 grams protein; 15 milligrams cholesterol; 1039 milligrams sodium

I made this as part of "Soft Polenta with Delicata Squash Rings and Moroccan Olive Pesto" also on the website; The original recipe from the Times called for using butter instead of olive oil, so the fat values will be different in the vegan version.