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Polenta taragna, or simply taragna, is a unique dish, a variation of polenta in which, in addition to corn flour, buckwheat flour is also used.
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Polenta taragna is a typical recipe of Valtellina cuisine. Its name derives from Tarai, a long stick used to mix it inside the copper pot in which it was prepared.
Polenta taragna, like other Valtellina polenta (for example, Pulénta vüncia, that is greasy), is prepared with a mixture containing buckwheat flour, which gives it its typical dark color, as opposed to the preparations of other regions which use only one type of flour, therefore obtaining a yellow polenta. Differently from ounce, in polenta taragna, the cheese is incorporated during cooking.
A classic recipe for polenta taragna. The ingredients and the dosage were learned by the various “Taratori” of the famous Taragna during the group’s annual summer alpine party at the Tagliate alpine pasture.
- A fairly firm polenta made with a pound of cornmeal, or two one-pound packages of polenta
- 1 cup melted unsalted butter
- 1/4 pound veal breast meat, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup chicken giblets (liver, heart, etc)
- 1 Spanish onion, chopped into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 small carrot, chopped into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 small celery stalk, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1/4 bunch fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped to yield 2 tablespoons
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 peeled whole plum tomatoes from can, drained
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted in hot water for 20 minutes then drained
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
How to make the Polenta pasticciata:
For the ragout:
In a 12 to a 14-inch saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add the veal pieces and giblets and cook until evenly browned on all sides, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and parsley and cook until the vegetables begin to soften about 5 minutes—season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and the wine and break up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Adjust the seasoning. Lower the heat to let the mixture simmer gently until the wine evaporates, about 10 minutes. In the meantime, roughly chop the reconstituted mushrooms. Once the ragu has simmered for 10 minutes, add the chopped mushrooms and allow the mixture to continue simmering for another 20 minutes.
Prepare the polenta: In a 3-quart saucepan, heat water and salt until boiling. Drizzle in the polenta in a thin stream, constantly whisking, until all polenta is incorporated and the mixture begins to thicken. Switch to a wooden spoon, pull off heat, and continue to stir until thick as paste.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Once the polenta is done, let it sit for a few minutes, then slice it. Butter an ovenproof serving dish about 14 inches in diameter and interlayer polenta and ragout, beginning with the polenta, then top with a layer of 1/4 of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Once all is used up, sprinkle the melted butter over the top and put it through a hot oven (400 F, 195 C) for a few minutes, until it browns.
A Rosso di Franciacorta would be nice with this, as would a Valpolicella Classico Superiore.
You can replace 7 oz of yellow cornmeal with as mich whole-wheat cornmeal and Fontina with Bitto. This recipe is a specialty of Valtellina, in Northern Italy, where is called polenta taragna. You can substitute Bitto with Parmigiano. Whole-wheat cornmeal is mixed into the water when still cold, then brought to a boil, and the yellow cornmeal is added following the cooking process as in the primary method.
Polenta taragna is always served with good quality salame, thickly sliced by hand, or fresh pork sausage sauteed till brown.
Regional recipe from Lombardy
in Lombard language, it is a variant of “taragna,” originating in Val d’Arigna, located in the Orobie Alps center in Valtellina. Its peculiarity is cooked in cream and made with buckwheat flour, mashed potatoes, and cheese.
The pulenta uncia,
cooked in the areas of Lake Como. After having prepared the polenta with a mixture of corn and buckwheat flour in the pot, it is mixed with a sauté of abundant butter, garlic, and sage with typical semüda cheese or a semi-fat cheese from the alpine pastures until a homogeneous mixture is obtained, hence the term “voncia, uncia,” which in the Lombard language means ‘greasy.’
Polenta and bruscitti
is a typical dish of Varesotto and Alto Milanese based on polenta and minced meat.
is a very soft polenta prepared on Lake Como by mixing corn and wheat flour. It is cooked especially in summer, and it is eaten dipped in cold milk.
Originally from the province of Sondrio and the Brescian valleys, it is widespread in Upper Lombardy and Bergamo, and Lecco’s provinces.