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How to make the perfect polenta: 5 mistakes to avoid – Italian Cuisine

How to make the perfect polenta: 5 mistakes to avoid

It is one of the most traditional dishes of northern Italy and is perfect paired with fish, cheese or meat. Preparing it in a workmanlike manner is a question of proportions and times, of flour, pot and salt. Find out how to do it without making these 5 mistakes

Polenta (from the Latin puls, farinata di farro) is a food whose history is lost in the mists of time. In the Middle Ages it was one cream made from chopped beans cooked with oil, onions and sometimes with the addition of cereals such as buckwheat and spelled. It has always been a food for the poor, even when the beans were replaced corn meal, and starting from 1700 it became a typical meal in the regions of northern Italy. Polenta has always been served as a substitute for bread, as a side dish, accompanied by other foods, or sliced ​​and toasted or fried. For a very long time it was a subsistence food, so much so that due to its continued consumption, without the addition of other nutrients, it has contributed to the spread of a disease called pellagra, due to a lack of vitamins. Currently, polenta, like many other poor foods, is experiencing a period of rediscovery like gourmet dish and tradition. And like all traditional dishes, you can prepare them at home, provided you don't fall into these common mistakes. Let's see them together.

Polenta: 5 mistakes not to be made

Don't give her time
Polenta is a dish that needs patience, to cook well, to become that soft and smooth mixture, perfect to accompany a meat stew, a tasty fish or a cream cheese. After pouring the flour into the pan with water and salt, the secret to obtain a homogeneous mixture, without lumps, is to mix the flour, slowly, for a long time, with a whisk, while it slowly thickens and cooks. Resist for at least an hour. If constancy does not belong to you, change the menu.

Choose any flour
The polenta has been preparing for about 400 years with the flour of longed corn (large grains). You can choose a full one if you like a more intense aroma. Also there buckwheat flour it is perfect, and is used above all in the valleys around Sondrio, in Lombardy: it has a darker color than that of corn, a rougher consistency, suitable for local cheeses. If you are not so foolhardy, you can try a mixture made from buckwheat flour and corn flour, to get what is called polenta taragna. In Veneto, instead, white corn is used, for a polenta accompanied by cuttlefish or cod. In the south, between Naples and Foggia, polenta is made with well-ground maize flour: it is fried, cut into slices and becomes street food.

Use any pan
Polenta has always been cooked in cauldron, that pot with high sides and a convex bottom, made of copper (or cast iron), able to spread heat evenly and cook the corn perfectly. All the others don't even consider them. The pot has only one tilting handle, because in the past the polenta was cooked in the fireplace. Fashions have changed, but the good habit of cooking polenta in the copper pot remains.

Miss the doses of flour and water
Only the veterans of polenta are allowed to enjoy the luxury of going to the eye. For all others, the doses to consider are: 4 liters of water for each kg of flour. Bearing in mind that the more raw the flour is, the more it will absorb water. So, if you use one of buckwheat, add liquid at your discretion. Indicatively then, 500 g of flour is enough for 4 people, unless you have invited the greatest admirer of polenta to dinner.

Abound with salt
The hand that prepares the polenta must be slight. There is no exact dose of salt that must be put into the water while it is warming up, but eating a too tasty polenta is really unpleasant. Keep in mind that often the foods to which it is accompanied are very savory (see cheeses): for this reason it is better to be light, so as not to ruin such a job. Salt can also be added once the polenta is cooked.

How to combine polenta

Discover in the tutorial our recommendations for a dish based on polenta.

How to prepare conchiglioni with pumpkin and zola: the recipe – Italian Cuisine

How to prepare conchiglioni with pumpkin and zola: the recipe

Do you think of a tastier combination for autumn? Here are the tips for cooking this first course and serving it in a simple but elegant way

Pumpkin and zola. Do you think of a tastier pairing?
This baked pasta botched and full of flavor is, in our opinion, the celebration ofAutumn.
It is the perfect first course for a family Sunday lunch, easy to prepare and with guaranteed success.

Great pasta to fill

The particular thing about this recipe is the pasta that is stuffed with a pumpkin and cheese filling.
It is dry and large format pasta like i conchiglioni that we propose that you can however replace if you prefer with i paccheri or other.
To fill the pasta to perfection just cook it a little, just a few minutes, drain it and then stuff it when it is very al dente and still compact. Will continue and complete the baking in the oven.

An autumn filling

We chose the pumpkin as the main ingredient of this first course because it is the vegetable that most represents this season.
Choose one pumpkin variety tasty and not too watery, for example a classic Mantuan, and cook it in a pan. You can also opt for baking, but it would be a little sweeter.
As for cheeses, zola and mascarpone they are a winning mix of creaminess and taste and blend perfectly with the sweetness of the pumpkin.

The recipe for conchiglioni with pumpkin and zola


300 g of conchiglioni
700 g of pumpkin
300 g of gorgonzola
200 g of mascarpone
1 onion
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
100 g of béchamel
a knob of butter
grated Parmesan cheese


Cut the pumpkin into cubes and cook it in a pan with the onion and oil.
Mix it with zola and mascarpone and season with salt and pepper.
Throw the conchiglioni into boiling water. Drain al dente and fill them with the pumpkin mixture.
Place them in a buttered baking dish.
Sprinkle with béchamel and Parmesan cheese and bake for 20 minutes at 200 °.

How to serve the dish

To serve this pasta you have two options: one very classic baking dish or some delicious ones single portions in cocotte.
In any case, choose simple accessories, but at the same time elegant because it is also always a first to be offered on special occasions.
We suggest you take a look at the proposals of Cà per Iper La grande i.

Recipe Yellow risotto with robiola and pecorino – Italian Cuisine

Recipe Yellow risotto with robiola and pecorino

  • 1 Kg asparagus, to be cleaned
  • 450 g rice
  • 170 g robiola
  • 80 g pecorino
  • 60 g butter
  • a shallot
  • saffron
  • marjoram
  • dry white wine
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

To prepare the yellow risotto with robiola and pecorino, clean the asparagus by checking and scraping the stems. Remove the latter from the tips and reduce them to rounds. Collect the asparagus slices in a saucepan together with a liter and a quarter of water, salt, half shallot, a sprig of marjoram and boil for 30 minutes, then strain the broth that you will use to cook the risotto. To prepare the latter, chop the remaining half shallot, let it dry in a little oil, then add the rice, toast it, blend it with half a glass of wine, add salt and pepper and cook the asparagus broth a little at a time. After about 7 minutes, add the asparagus tips cut in half lengthwise, 3 sachets of saffron and continue cooking; at the end, that is after about 15 minutes, when the risotto is al dente and very light, turn off, stir in the butter, the robiola, the grated pecorino cheese, then let it rest covered for a couple of minutes and finally serve it, in the dish reach.

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