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Polenta alla Carbonara

A web-exclusive recipe from Italian Cooking and Living

To make the polenta:

  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter, optional

Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat and add the salt. As soon as the water begins to simmer, start pouring the cornmeal by the handful in a slow, thin stream, and stir constantly with a long wooden spoon or a wire whisk to prevent lumps. When all the cornmeal has been incorporated, reduce the heat a bit and stir the polenta with a wooden spoon, reaching all the way to the bottom and the sides of the pot. Cook the polenta at a steady simmer stirring constantly. As it cooks, the polenta will thicken considerably and will bubble and spit back at you. Reduce the heat a little to avoid being splattered by the bubbles. Cook and stir the polenta for about 40 minutes. Polenta is done when it comes away effortlessly from the side of the pot. If using butter or parmigiano, add it to the cooked polenta just before turning the heat off, and stir until everything is well incorporated and polenta has a smooth, creamy, thick consistency.

To make the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound spicy sausage, finely chopped
  • 1/4 pound spicy pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
Heat a large skillet over moderately high heat. Add sausage and pancetta and saute until golden. Add garlic and parsley and cook just a few minutes more. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper and serve over warm polenta. Serves 4

Copyright © 2005, Italian Cooking and Living. All rights reserved.

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The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana