It's easy to prepare this quick and delicious soft polenta side dish; all it takes is a bit of whisking. Serve polenta straight from the pot, or cool, slice, and broil until crisp.
In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups water, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to a boil over high heat. Whisking constantly, very gradually add cornmeal in a thin stream, whisking until smooth before adding more.
Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, whisking often, until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and butter until smooth. Serve immediately.
For the creamiest texture, whisk frequently as the polenta cooks. When it reaches the consistency of oatmeal, it's ready (serve immediately, as polenta thickens as it cools).
For additional flavor, stir in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, basil or parsley along with the cheese and butter.