To accompany her Adriatic Eel Stew, Bastianich serves polenta either right from the pot, scooped out in hot, soft mounds onto the plate, or poured onto a wooden paddle, cooled, and cut into sections with taut string.
Lidia Bastianich's Polenta
Lidia Bastianich serves her polenta either right from the pot, scooped out in hot, soft mounds onto the plate, or poured onto a wooden paddle, cooled, and cut into sections with taut string.
Yield: serves 6
1 tbsp. coarse salt
2 fresh bay leaves
7 cups cold water
1 2⁄3 cups coarse yellow cornmeal
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put coarse salt and bay leaves into cold water in a heavy medium pot. Stir in coarse yellow cornmeal. (Adding cornmeal to cold water helps keep polenta free of lumps.) Bring to a boil over high heat, add extra-virgin olive oil, then reduce heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until polenta thickens and pulls away from the bottom and sides of the pot, 30-40 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove and discard bay leaves.