Take a walk in any Italian kitchen north of Tuscany and you won't find Sunday cena, dinner, complete without this creamy corn. Francine Segan, food historian and Italian Food expert, captivates our palette with these wonderful ways to enjoy this Northern staple dating from the 1500s.
In the south and middle of the country, Italians eat mainly pasta and bread, but in the north, they prefer rice and polenta. Polenta is so widespread there that northern Italians are sometimes called polentoni, “polenta-eaters.”
Polenta, slow simmered ground corn, is eaten as a main dish or side, and can be baked, fried, or grilled. Regions of Nothern Italy have their own preferred approach to this dish.
In Valle d'Aosta, they enjoy Polenta Concia, cooked with butter and cheese. Both yellow and white polenta are displayed on Venecian tables in traditional meals such baccalá alla vicentina, seppie al nero alla veneziana, and fegato alla veneziana. In Abruzzo, especially during Lent, polenta is served with snail sauce or cooked in milk and seasoned with oil, garlic, and chili peppers. Umbria celebrates this grain in a dessert dish brustengolo, an apple-walnut polenta pudding.
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