Polenta does not require continuous stirring for the two hours that it takes to cook, but just needs to be checked occasionally. I have read of a method that involves cooking polenta in a double boiler, but I have not tried it.
- Bring the stock or water to a rapid boil in a deep saucepan. Pour in the polenta in a thin stream, whisking continuously until blended. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer, then cover with a lid. Cook for at least 45 minutes - 2 hours is better. Check the polenta frequently, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Do not worry if a skin forms around the saucepan, as it is easily washed off.
- Once the polenta is thick and creamy and is starting to come away from the sides of the pan, stir in the butter and parmesan. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then spread the polenta evenly over an oiled, shallow baking tray. Cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate until set.
- Once the polenta is completely cold, cut it into shapes and either grill or shallow-fry the pieces until crisp and golden. "Wet" polenta can also be served straight from the saucepan. This is especially delicious under casseroles.