Grate or shred 1/2 cup cheese such as Parmesan, Romano, Fontina or Monterey Jack for topping.
Sauce: Any meat or tomato sauce that is intended to spoon onto pasta.
In a large, deep pan over high heat bring water and sea salt to a boil; gradually stir in polenta. Reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring frequently to prevent sticking until mixture is very thick (about 30 minutes); use a long-handled spoon because mixture pops and bubbles and can burn.
Stir in butter, if you wish, and more salt if needed.
Oil a deep medium sized bowl, spoon polenta into bowl and let set for 10 minutes. Invert onto a flat plate. Mixture will unmold and hold its shape. Cut polenta into thick slices and serve hot. Top with your favorite tomato sauce and freshly grated parmesan cheese.