Polenta is the basic staple starch eaten all over the north of Italy. Made from ground maize, it can be white or yellow, and comes in various different grades: fine, medium or coarse. The widely available quick-cook variety is frowned upon by purists who claim that only the real thing, which requires up to an hour of constant stirring, will have the correct flavour. Serve in a slab with some Gorgonzola on top, which melts over the hot polenta, or alongside a stew. It can also be served soft in a bowl with a stew, dressing, sauce or cheese on the top.
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