If you have time and muscles:
You bring water to the boiling point, add some salt, add the polenta flour (proportion: about 100 grams flour for 400 cc water) and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for at least 1 hour, 1 hour 15 min, until it gets the texture you want. It depends on how you want to use it, but generally the texture is like a solid purée. Don’t stop stirring because 1) it makes lumps 2) it sticks to the pan 2) it easily blobs and splashes 😦
If you don’t have time nor muscles:
You buy a preecooked flour (the best is “polenta Valsugana”, sometimes available at Delhaize) and simply follow the istructions on the box… it’s ready in 5-6 minutes 🙂
I prepared it the day before, and unfortunately I could not find the polenta Valsugana at Delhaize: as a result, it was not compact at all. I added rosemary and olives (just to try something different, but I tried also with anchovies and it’s not bad), then put it into the cake mould for easier transport.
Here again, it depends on what you want to do with it: with big and thick slices like the ones we got from the cake mould you don’t really have the choice, the only possibility is to gratinate it in the oven with some cheese (I used smoked scamorza) and serve it as an antipasto, or simply gratinate it in the oven and serve it with ragout (sanglier, or gibier in general, or mushrooms).
For example, if the polenta is as compact as it shoud be, you can use a big plateau, like the one for lasagne, and get slices which are much thinner and smaller (almost like thick nachos), which can be gratinated in the oven or deepfried (but I don’t have a friteuse!) and served as fingerfood apéro, for example with tapenade d’olives (cold), or lardo di colonnata (warm).
But you can olso keep it more fluid and serve it straight from the pan, or it can be mixed with cheeses…
So, no real recipe for polenta… even worse than pasta and risotto, which at least have a precise cooking time :-)))