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5 cups water

2 teaspoons sea salt

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1 1/2 cups polenta, as coarse a grind as you can find

1 ounce parmigiano reggiano, grated

1 ounce unsalted butter


Put water in a heavy-bottom pot with the salt. Bring to a boil. Add polenta to the water in a gentle stream, whisking or stirring vigorously in the same direction, as you pour it in. Reduce the heat to medium-low so that water is simmering. Stir continuously for the first 2 to 3 minutes to avoid any lumps. When the polenta starts to bubble gently, stir it every few minutes to prevent it from sticking. The more you stir, the smoother the polenta will be. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom and sides. Adjust the heat as necessary, keeping it fairly low. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes. The polenta will be thick and glossy and just pulling away from the sides. To finish, turn off heat and stir in cheese and butter. You may cover the pot and leave it for 15 minutes or so before serving.

Serves 8.

Chris McDonald is chef at Toronto's Cava restaurant.

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