Preheat oven to 350°. Add water or liquids to an 8 x 8 ovenproof baking dish. Stir in polenta and salt. Place in preheated oven and bake 40 minutes.
Remove and stir in butter and pepper. Return to oven and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in optional ingredients.
Polenta is delicious topped with sautéed greens and crumbled cheese for a simple vegetarian meal. Toasted nuts and herbs are also great additions. When cooled, polenta can be cut in to slices or squares and reheated for use later.