6 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

salt and freshly ground pepper

2 cups coarse-grained cornmeal (polenta)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 ounce) (optional)

Bring the stock to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add salt to taste. (The amount you use will depend on the saltiness of your stock. The seasonings will concentrate as the polenta cooks, so if you are in doubt, use less.) Reduce to a simmer.

Slowly pour the cornmeal into the simmering stock, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook the cornmeal, stirring constantly to prevent sticking on the bottom, until it pulls away from the sides of the pot and is thick enough for the spoon to stand upright, 5 to 7 minutes.

Stir in the sage and butter. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

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