Chef Michael Chiarello takes inspiration from ancient Tuscany for this new-old, communal-eating experience. Slideshow: Perfect Polenta Recipes
Line a heatproof table with butcher paper. In a very large pot, combine the water with the heavy cream, season with salt and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in the polenta and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, whisking constantly. Cook the polenta over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until thick, creamy and no longer gritty, about 30 minutes. Stir in the Fontina and Parmigiano-Reggiano until melted, then stir in the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Immediately pour the polenta onto the butcher paper and invite guests to grab spoons and forks, add toppings and dive in. Pass additional Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table.
Sausage and peppers, or top with Bolognese sauce, marinara sauce or pesto sauce.