Polenta, a passion for all tastes
There are many types of polentas and many ways to cook it, because polenta is both traditional and modern, delicious the way grandma used to make it, but also vegan and gluten-free
The word ‘polentone’ – used by those who, not living in northern Italy, referred to the northern custom of replacing bread with polenta in daily cooking – fits me perfectly.
No sense of guilt for this gluttonous weakness of mine since nutritional experts also applaud this choice!
So… off I go on a compulsive buying spree of maize flour when I am out and about walking through markets or entering shops and stumble across this versatile cereal.
Ancient grain flours, buckwheat flour, Storo flour, white flour, Rovetta red rostrato flour, Fioretto flour… we have a myriad of different qualities of flours in Italy, allowing us to cook polenta that is always different.
Polenta used to be considered the food of the poor, while today we can appreciate its versatility: the fact that it can be paired with the most varied flavours to create surprisingly unique dishes helps me greatly in creating those recipes I love.
I hope my grandma forgives me, but polenta is very quick to make, and it is not true that it needs to be stirred constantly, just stir it quickly at the beginning with the whisk, to avoid lumps. This is the only step you really need to watch out for, then just cover the polenta with a lid, cook it slowly and stir it every ten minutes until it is cooked. In the meantime, you can concentrate on choosing the food to serve with it.
One of my favourite recipes
There you go, naturally to be made with seasonal radicchio: red radicchio from Treviso, cooked in red wine and served on a polenta base. I top it with pear slices and parmesan cheese. When necessary, it becomes a vegan recipe if I replace the parmesan cheese with walnuts: in this case, remember not to add butter to the polenta!
When I have celiac guests, I make bruschetta for everyone in which polenta replaces bread. For example, try replacing the homemade bread of this Bruschetta with Romanesco cauliflower, anchovies and smoked provola with polenta and you will have a delicious gluten-free recipe!
And if you, like me, are in favour of anti-waste cuisine, polenta is perfect: it can be recycled in the blink of an eye, for example by grilling it. What do you think about serving it with a good lentil ragout? Or to be real ‘polentoni’, try dipping it into milk at breakfast in the morning instead of biscuits.
Enjoy your polenta, everyone!