How to make Polenta

06 July 2010 Published in Friuli Venezia Giulia Food & Wine
Making polenta near Cormons Making polenta near Cormons © Copyright Delicious Italy

Polenta sounds like the Italian for boiling hot, 'bollente'. But this thick, scalding dish kept people alive in many regions of Italy during the winter. 

When we visited the Monte Amiata region of Tuscany, we were told that a herring was often dipped into the cooked polenta to provide a touch of flavour. That's a good as it got.

Today, many shops and supermarkets sell pre-prepared polenta which can be simply heated up with hot water in seconds, and its not too bad at all. Nevertheless, the real thing needs hours of cooking over an open fire using an iron cauldron and a hefty wooden spoon. Or a simple mechanical device such as the one in our photo above taken in a restaurant near Cormons.

So, whether you are in Colorado, Canberra or Croydon try this:

Polenta © Copyright Delicious Italy

Get hold of half a kilo of 'granturco' flour and start to boil 2 litres of water. Once the water is bubbling well, pour the flour from a height into the water stirring continuously.

The secret of a good polenta is actually this, the stirring, so once started it cannot stop (hence the mechanical device). The heat must be kept high and if the mixture really is too stiff to stir add more boiling water. Only the heat can break down the flour particles in the correct way.

Once done, let's say 50mins for half a kilo, pour the polenta onto circular wooden chopping board. The polenta will cool and become more rigid (see below). At this point it is ready to cut into portions.

Polenta can also be eaten the following day warmed up in a frying pan without oil.

Polenta  © Copyright Delicious Italy

More in this category: San Daniele Ham »