Monday, May 26, 2008

Polenta Taragna

A few weeks back I posted about Pizzoccheri, a pasta from Valtellina, a valley in the region of Lombardia. I've now found another product from Valtellina - Polenta Taragna

Taragna Polenta ©

This speckled polenta is a blend of course ground corn flour and buckwheat - it tastes a bit nutty when compared to regular Polenta and the texture is a little more rougher. This isn't one the instant types of polenta so it will take around 30 minutes to prepare but it's time well spent.

I've teamed this polenta with a hearty Italian Sausage Ragú - for a non-meat option, this polenta is perfect served with a braise of mixed mushrooms.

Polenta Taragna with Sausage Ragú ©

Polenta Taragna with Sausage Ragù

1 brown onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
rosemary, finely chopped
celery leaves, finely chopped
250 grams mushrooms, cut into large pieces
6 Italian sausages, skinned, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can crushed tomatoes or 400 grams chopped fresh tomatoes
salt and freshly ground pepper
freshly grated Parmesan

Make the Sausage Ragú:

Place olive oil and a knob of butter into a large pot over a medium-low heat and when the butter has melted and has started to sizzle add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and rosemary. Stir this well and allow to cook slowly until the vegetables soften and start to colour. This should take around 15-20 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, stirring them through the mix and cook until they have slightly coloured.

Now add the sausage pieces a few at a time - stir this well but don't be rough as you want them to stay chunky.

When all the sausage has been added, stir through the tomato paste. Increase the heat slightly and cook for 5 minutes before adding the crushed tomatoes and celery leaves. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering make the Polenta.

Make the Polenta Taragna:

For 1oo grams of Polenta I used about 2 cups of water though the amount of water will depend on the polenta itself and will vary.

Place the water into a pan and place over a medium heat. When the water has started to bubble, sprinkle in the polenta. Start stirring and if the polenta seems to be too thick then add just enough water to slacken the mixture.

About half way through the cooking I added about 50 grams of cubed butter and a handful of grated Parmesan.

Near the end of the cooking time, stir through another handful of grated Parmesan - the final mix should be soft and creamy.

Assemble the dish:

Place the polenta into the base of an oven proof dish and then top with the Sausage Ragú. Sprinkle over with grated Parmesan and place in a preheated 180ºC oven - cook until the cheese has melted and then serve at once with an extra sprinkling of Parmesan.

Polenta Taragna with Sausage Ragú ©


  1. AnonymousMay 27, 2008

    Ooh, yummy. I'm not that great at making polenta -- I've never had the patience to wait for it to cool, so it's usually cornmeal mush with topping -- but this looks worth trying!

  2. This looks really delicious. I will look for this at the Italian import store.

  3. I'll have to keep my eye open for this stuff - it looks amazing. We love polenta with shanks, just tomato or grilled with our steak - thanks for introducing me.

  4. Thanks T - soft polenta is best with these type of sauces.

    Thanks VB.

    Thanks Nina - it makes for a nice change to regular polenta, hope you find some.

  5. AnonymousMay 28, 2008

    This looks amazing! I've never seen Polenta Taragna, but I will certainly try this w/ regular Polenta. Love the braised mushroom idea, too.


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