Polenta

Polenta

Polenta

By
From
Venice
Serves
6
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

Both set and soft polenta is made in the same way but more water is added to the soft version. Sous chef Daniele Malagni gave us his tip of adding butter at the end, which helps keep it soft. Once set polenta has cooled, it becomes solid and can be cut into shapes and grilled or fried. It forms a good base for cicchetti or cut into chips and deep-fried. The friendly chef Dimitri Gris at Il Covino told us that one day he accidently dropped some chopped rosemary into his pot of yellow polenta. Just before the service, he had no time to make any more. His customers loved it and so he has been doing it ever since.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
150g white fine or yellow polenta
1 litre water
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped, (optional)
2 teaspoons fine salt
100g parmesan, finely grated
sunflower oil

Method

  1. To make set polenta: Bring the water to the boil in a large saucepan. Pour the polenta from a height slowly into the boiling water. Add the rosemary if using. Stir constantly for 5 minutes and then every 5 minutes for a further 35 minutes. Taste and add salt as necessary. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Oil a shallow tin roughly 20 x 30 x 1.5 cm or a work surface and pour the polenta on to it. Spread a little oil on top and flatten it down with an oiled spatula to 2 cm thick, then leave to cool and set firm. Cut into twenty-four 5 cm squares. The polenta can be dipped into plain flour, shaking off any excess, and fried in sunflower oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat or simply toasted under a grill until lightly browned.
  2. To make soft polenta, follow the recipe for set polenta but add a further 200 ml water and stir in 100 g butter at the end. This gives a rich flavour and a glossy finish.
  3. To make black polenta: Black polenta is made by adding cuttlefish ink (sometimes called squid ink) to the polenta as it is being cooked; add spoonfuls of ink until you have the right density of colour. The better quality of ink you buy (either online or from an Italian deli) the less ink you will need. It is available in jars or sachets.
Tags:
Venice
Giancarlo
Katie
Caldesi
Venetian
Italian
European
Mediterranean
Italy
Europe
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