What do you cook on a snowy day? Polenta. Why? Because you not only want but need the energy and warmth offered by a bowl of soft, creamy, cheesy cornmeal cooked until gooey. Add a glass—wait, make it a bottle—of wine to help with the screaming kids.
I like to serve polenta with a scoop of ragù sauce, slow-cooked ribs, veal stew, or, if you dare, rabbit. But frankly, a simple bowl of polenta mixed with milk and whatever melty cheese you happen to have in your fridge is heaven to me.
Bring the water and the milk to a boil in a large saucepan. Add a generous pinch of salt.
Gradually add the polenta in a steady stream, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. (I find a whisk doesn't work well.) Reduce the heat and gently simmer, stirring from time to time, for about 25 minutes. If the polenta thickens too quickly, add a little more water or milk.
Remove from the heat, add the Parmesan and butter and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
For an even creamier polenta, use half milk and half double cream instead of water. Or substitute Add blue cheese for the Parmesan and add some toasted walnuts for a side dish that's sure to make everyone happy.