This post is for all you polenta advocates. A few days ago I posted a tomato sauce with short ribs and sausage as a polenta dressing. Today I want to tell you about how they do it in Modena, Val d'Aosta and a small village in Abruzzo called Castel del Monte.
1. Polenta Pasticciata Modenese
Modena's own Formula One polenta topping, better than a Ferrari: it races straight from the mouth to the thighs without even a pit stop.polenta by following the steps illustrated in the recipe I posted a while back.
While someone takes a shift at stirring, assemble:
100 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
150 g (3/4 cup) Parmigiano, grated
200 g (1 cup) Gorgonzola cheese
Once the polenta is done and ladled onto wooden plates, fold in fistfuls of grated Parmigiano, flakes of butter and slices of sharp Gorgonzola.
Mix well, devour and thank God, Mother Earth, Buddha, Visnu and the entire Greek Pantheon.
Image © Roccoeisuoifornelli
2. Polenta alla Valdostana
Polenta of the taragna whole grain variety, is coarse and speckled with darker grains.
Again, begin by making your basic polenta by following the steps illustrated in the recipe I posted here, but let the taragna become a little more firm than your regular cornmeal polenta.
200 g (1 cup) or more Fontina cheese cut in strips
50 g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
Once the polenta is thick and spooned onto wooden plates, toss in the cheese and butter, but beware: the heat of the polenta will melt the fondant Fontina. The effect could bring tears of joy to your eyes.
3. Polenta ai Finferli
These fairly bright yellowish orange wild mushrooms that are known by a variety of names, including Gallinacci or Galletti in Italy–and Chanterelles in France and the English speaking world–are among my favorite spores along with the mighty Porcini and the delicate and almost extinct Ovoli. This is a tasty basic sauce from Abruzzo, made with wild mushrooms that can easily dress fettuccine or polenta alike.
You can make the mushroom sauce in advance, or on the day, provided you serve it piping hot spooned over the just-made polenta.
1 kg (2.2 lbs) finferli/chanterelle mushrooms
3 garlic cloves
A small bunch of Italian flatleaf parsley
100 g (1/2 cup) butter
Extra virgin olive oil
Carefully rinse the mushrooms with water, cut the stems and trumpet caps in half and put them in a skillet with the butter, oil and garlic. Cook at moderate heat, stirring often. When the mushrooms are cooked soft and still moist, remove from heat, add salt, and sprinkle with chopped parsley and, if you like, a few shavings of Parmigiano.
Once the polenta is done and ladled onto wooden plates, spoon generous amounts of the mushroom salsa on top. Pour yourself a glass of robust red wine, sit comfortably and blissfully enjoy your meal.
"The trouble with eating Italian food is that
five or six days later you’re hungry again."
~ George Miller