Classic Italian Palenta Recipe

Polenta is a customary dish in Italian gastronomy that has been relished for centuries. As per the publication “Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well” by Pellegrino Artusi, polenta was a fundamental food in Northern Italy, especially in the regions of Lombardy and Veneto. The meal is prepared by simmering cornmeal with water or broth until it thickens and becomes velvety.

The history of Palenta

Initially, polenta was regarded as a peasant food and was frequently eaten as a replacement for bread. It was an economical and satisfying repast that could be produced in ample amounts and served to extensive groups of individuals. Nonetheless, as the dish gained fame, it also became a fixture on the tables of Italian aristocracy.

As time passed, polenta began to acquire different provincial variations. In the north of Italy, polenta was typically made with yellow cornmeal, while in the south, white cornmeal was more frequently employed. In some regions, polenta was combined with cheese or other components to enhance flavor and texture.

The publication “Italian Regional Cooking” by Ada Boni features numerous diverse recipes for polenta, including variations from different regions all over Italy. Some formulas entail supplementing butter or cream to the polenta, while others propose serving it with a luscious tomato sauce or meat ragù.

Currently, polenta endures as a beloved dish in Italy and is relished both as a principal course and as a side dish. It has also gained prominence in other parts of the world, where it is frequently served with meat, vegetables, or cheese.

Palenta Recipe

Polenta is a traditional dish hailing from the northern region of Italy that is typically made from cornmeal. The following is a step-by-step guide for preparing polenta based on the renowned cookbooks “Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well” and “Italian Regional Cooking”:


500g maize flour
2.5L water
1 tsp sodium chloride
Step 1: Bring the water to a boil in a large pot.
Step 2: Add the sodium chloride to the boiling water.
Step 3: Gradually sprinkle the maize flour into the boiling water, stirring constantly to prevent any clumps from forming.
Step 4: Lower the heat to medium and continue to stir until the mixture begins to thicken and detach from the sides of the pot. This process should take approximately 40-50 minutes.
Step 5: Once the mixture has thickened, continue to cook while stirring occasionally for an additional 10-15 minutes to ensure that the maize flour is fully cooked.
Step 6: Remove the pot from the heat and pour the polenta onto a cutting board or into a large bowl.
Step 7: Smooth out the polenta and allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool and solidify.
Step 8: Cut the polenta into sections and serve alongside sauces, meat dishes, or vegetables of your choice.

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