Buckwheat-Polenta Pie with Sausage

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as main course

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Smaccare means “to shame,” and fame means “hunger.” Smacco loosely translates as a mortification or slap in the face. Smacafàm is a hearty, rustic pizza or pancake from the Trentino that will banish your hunger. It is enhanced with onion and sausage and makes for a filling meal, best accompanied with a simple green salad, or cut into small wedges and served as an appetizer. The Trentino and the Valtellina are mountainous northern regions where coarsely milled buckwheat, known as polenta taragna, polenta nera, or grano saraceno, is used in many recipes, alone or in combination with cornmeal. Many people find buckwheat alone too intense, however. Packaged polenta taragna comes with the buckwheat premixed with corn-meal. If you cannot find polenta taragna, you can make this dish with regular cornmeal polenta. Use Fontina cheese from the Aosta Valley, which is far superior to imitators made elsewhere.

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  • 4 tablespoons lard or olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • ½ pound sweet sausages with or without fennel
  • 4 cups milk
  • cups polenta taragna or cornmeal polenta
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces Fontina cheese, thinly sliced or shredded


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish, an 8-by-11-inch gratin dish (or one slightly larger), or a 12-inch pie dish.

In a sauté pan, heat the lard or olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To cook the sausages, prick them with a fork and place them in a sauté pan with water to a depth of about inch. Place over medium heat and cook, turning once, until the water evaporates and the sausages start to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove the sausages from the pan, let cool, remove the casings, and cut into ½ -inch-thick slices.

Pour the milk into a saucepan, place over medium heat, and heat just until small bubbles appear along the edges of the pan. Stir in the polenta, then continue to stir until creamy and smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the onions to the polenta mixture, and season with salt and pepper.

Pour half of the polenta into the prepared baking dish in a smooth, even layer. Top with half of the sausage slices. Pour in the remaining polenta and top with the remaining sausage slices. Top evenly with the cheese.

Bake the pie until it is set and the surface is golden, 30 to 35 minutes. To serve, cut into squares or wedges.


This dish calls for Lagrein, a great red wine from the Alto Adige. Try to pick up a bottle from Alois Lageder, Colterenzio, Santa Maddalena, or Cantina Terlano. Other suitable regional wines are Teroldego and Pinot Nero.