Gnocchi di Polenta

Polenta Gnocchi

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This is a tremendously substantial dish, which is perfect for cold, damp winter Tuscan days. It is a real rib-sticker, so if you decide to serve it make sure the next course is light. Polenta, like pasta, is hearty and sustaining, and it is an inexpensive way to satisfy hungry stomachs. The pork and porcini sauce can also be used to dress pasta or even as a risotto base.

Ingredients

  • 50 g/2 oz/1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 115 g/4 oz/½ cup unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 50 ml/2 fl oz/¼ cup olive oil
  • 275 g/10 oz stewing pork, cubed
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 300 ml/½ pint/1 ¼ cups pork or chicken stock
  • 450 g/1 lb polenta flour
  • 75 ml/5 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • sea salt

Method

  1. Put the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with warm water. Allow them to soak for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, fry the onion in half the butter and the oil for 5 minutes, or until softened.
  2. Add the stewing pork and stir thoroughly to brown the meat all over. Stir the tomato paste into the stock, then pour into the pan. Drain the mushrooms and chop them coarsely. Add them to the pan, stir and simmer for 20 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, bring 2 litres/ pints/9 cups water in a pan to the boil and add a pinch of salt. Trickle the polenta flour into the water in a steady stream, whisking constantly.

  4. Turn the heat to medium-low. Using a strong wooden spoon, stir the polenta constantly for 45 minutes, until it comes away from the sides of the pan. Turn out on to a board and leave to cool enough to set slightly.

  5. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°C/Gas 5. Butter a large ovenproof dish. Using a tablespoon dipped into cold water, scoop the polenta into balls and use to line the base of the dish. Cover with a little of the pork, dot with some of the butter and sprinkle with Parmesan.
  6. Continue layering the polenta, meat, butter and cheese. Finish with polenta coated in butter and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve.