“Given all the fuss that has been made about the difficulty of producing the real thing, I wouldn’t blame you if you bought ‘instant’ polenta.  But polenta — and it’s identical Romanian cousin, mamaliga — is basically cornmeal mush, ethereal when made correctly and hardly neurosurgery.  First off, forget about stirring clockwise for 40 minutes with a long handled wooden spoon or any of the other myths you’ve heard about how it has to be made.  If you want great creamy polenta, cook the cornmeal very slowly and add as much butter as you can in good conscience.  Second, this is a case where Parmigiano-Reggiano, the real Parmesan, will shine.  Finally, note that the amount of water you use is variable; Use 5 cups if you want to make very firm polenta that you can later grill or saute; use more water if you want smooth, soft polenta, into which you will stir cheese and serve as a simple side dish or perhaps with a little tomato sauce.”  

Mark Bittman, The Best Recipes in the World