Polenta Concia, a Northern-Italian Dish


My neighbor Piero, who is a chef, recommended I go to El Canton Dij Formaggi (www.angolodeiformaggi.it) when I told him I wanted to make concia, a type of polenta served in the region of Piedmont. Piero loaned me a cookbook of recipes from the region of Piedmont that he has catalogued during his career. He lists more than a dozen different types of polenta recipes.

I was inspired to make polenta after enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon lunch in Bra at Carmen and her husband’s house.  They have such a gorgeous family and are good friends of my American friend Eric, who has since transferred to the States for the winter.

With my neighbor’s recommendation, I went to El Canton Dij Formaggi and asked the owner, Luciano to recommend the cheese I should use to make concia. Traditionally, it can be made with gorgonzola, but I decided upon the following:  Fontina Val D’Aosta a semi-soft cow milk cheese from the Valle D’Aosta, Robiola Cocona an extremely soft goat cheese, and Toma di Lanzo di Margaro an aged, medium-hard cow milk cheese.

Polenta can be made using a variety of stocks or with salted-water. Because I would like to make a different dish with the leftovers, I decided to use water. Basically, one uses 2 ½ cups of liquid for each cup of polenta. However, I am using a stone ground polenta, not a par-boiled one that is commonly found in the States. I have the luxury of having La Ossola right down the street from my apartment. La Ossola has been providing flours and grains to the local bakeries in Turin since 1955 (www.ossolafarine.it/).

At the end of cooking process, I mounted the polenta with small-diced pieces of the cheese mentioned above and a bit of butter. I served my polenta with a simple tomato sauce cooked with cipolle rosse di Tropea, or sweet red onions from the southern part of Italy in Campania. A plate of polenta is the perfect comfort food on a cold, rainy day.

Fresh Butter and Cheese from Piedmont

Polenta Concia

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About Rachel Steckler

Culinarian, Slow Food Advocate and Jazz composer...living in Brooklyn
This entry was posted in An American in Turin, Italia, Italian recipes, Piedmont, Torino and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Polenta Concia, a Northern-Italian Dish

  1. Pingback: From Miami to Turin: Rachel Steckler O’Kaine | Vincenzo Reda - dipinge col vino

  2. Jennifer S says:

    The weather is just turning chilly here and I was thinking of polenta last night. I agree the American par-boiled version is not the way to go, since we do have stone ground versions available in California. But then, I didn’t know how long to cook it or when to add any flavorings and if so, which kind.

    Can you tell me if you went with a long, 2-3 hour cooking, or something different? I am hoping you’ll share the secret! 🙂

  3. Ciao Jennifer,
    Yes, it depends on which brand of polenta one is using…anywhere from 30 min to 2 hours. It’s relatively easy to cook…but the ending, as mentioned in my brief article is very important. Towards the end of the cooking process, I mounted the polenta with cheese and butter. You can also use olive oil and parmesan. Because I plan to use my leftover to cook with cugnà, a Piemontese specialty, I cooked my polenta with salted water. If you want to infuse the polenta with other flavors, I suggest using a stock that will go with your meal. You can use a vegetable stock, chicken stock, or even a shrimp stock (made from saving the shrimp shells and fresh fennel).

    Bring the liquid to a boil before adding the polenta and make certain you sift through the polenta before you cook with it. Then pour the polenta into a pourable mixing cup so that you add the polenta evenly into the pot.

    Hope this helps!

    Hope this helps

  4. Vicky says:

    What is the recipe for this cheesy stringy polenta?

    • Hi Vicky. Try to use a medium grain polenta/corn meal. The ratio is 1 cup of polenta 1 1/2 cups water or broth. As for the cheese I have to say there is no recipe. I cut the cheese into small pieces so they melt faster.

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