It's easy to prepare this quick and delicious 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 over high heat, bring 4 cups water with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to a boil. Very gradually, add cornmeal in a thin stream, whisking constantly until smooth. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, whisking often, until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter until smooth.