About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Layered Crespelle with Tomato, Prosciutto and Cheese | Main | Instant Polenta »

Making Polenta

I love polenta, and we have it often. I love it as a side dish, or grilled or baked. I typically make mine in the oven with gruyere and fried sage, but I was excited to make it the authentic way of slow stirring. I was excited until about half way through the process of standing at a hot stove and stirring FOREVER!

OK, 40-45 minutes, said the recipe. That is a LONG time to stand over a hot bubbling pot! My weak fat arm was tired after 10 minutes! My husband arrived home in time to take over. Perfetto!

After the second ten minutes, I let him sit down with a glass of wine, and went back to my task. THIS must be why I love my oven-baked polenta so much. I was thinking, I won't be doing this again soon! Every time I go to a good copper store in Italy, I lust over the beautiful polenta pots. I can now pass them right by, knowing I won't need one!

At 35 minutes, the polenta looked and tasted done. As Marcella suggests, I poured it into a shallow large bowl, and evened out the top with a spoon to set. I made a salad and removed my braised pork from the oven.


After 10 minutes, I unmolded the dome of polenta onto a round platter.


I LOVE Marcella's idea of scooping out the top of the dome, and using the polenta as a bowl for your meat or stew! I filled mine with braised pork with fennel and figs.


The polenta was delicious and a perfect consistency, but a little salty for us. It is very lovely as a serving bowl, and I can imagine it with a nice lamb stew or filled with sausages! I will let my arm rest before trying this again, and split the stirring with my sous chef in the future.

Comments (5)

Palma- it looks delicious. The stew sounds perfect with the polenta.

The finished dish looks lovely Palma.

We have one of those beautiful copper polenta pots, but once we started cooking polenta using Marcella's no-stir method, it was relegated to decorative status!

Good job and glad you had some help!

Palma, that is a beautiful, beautiful dish with the braised pork. So elegant and at the same time very comfort-foody.

Marcella Hazan:

I wonder why it is that people who love good food so often begrudge the time it takes to make it right. Palma, I hope you are pleased that you have made polenta as it ought to be made and had the opportunity to taste it as it should taste. You are now part of an elite group of home cooks, nearly of whom reside very far from Palm Desert.

I am intrigued that you do so much cooking in the oven. I use it mostly for gratineeing, which I love, for some desserts, and occasionally for such dishes as the now-famous chicken with 2 lemons, but on most days I turn it on only to reheat bread and warm up plates and platters because warm food served on cold plates makes me very nervous.

Congratulations on your very successful effort.

The polenta looks great, Palma - especially in the bowl format with your braised pork.

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