1 cup (173 grams) coarse polenta
4 1/2 cups cups (1,023 grams) water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 to 1 cups grated or crumbled cheese (such as sharp cheddar, Parmesan, pecorino, Gouda, blue), for stirring in and sprinkling on top.
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, for stirring in and sprinkling on top, or another ground spice to taste
Fresh herbs (such as minced chives, thyme leaves, finely chopped sage, or roughly chopped parsley), for stirring in and/or sprinkling on top.