We served the polenta with Braised Lamb Shanks with Tomato and Fennel, but it is equally delicious with chicken, veal, or pork, or as part of a vegetarian meal with a salad.
Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add salt. Stirring constantly, slowly add polenta, letting the grains pass through your fingers in a steady stream. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring constantly, until polenta is tender but not mushy, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in butter. Serve hot.