Giada De Laurentiis explains how polenta, which is made of cornmeal, is Italy’s version of mashed potatoes. To cook polenta, Giada starts with a pot of boiling water, which she seasons with salt before pouring in the cornmeal. She stirs to avoid lumps and prefers using instant polenta since it cooks in a few minutes. She says to make polenta creamy you can add milk and grated Parmesan cheese. Once it’s cooked, polenta can be served with salad or steak. She suggests drying polenta on a baking sheet, after which it can be baked or fried.