Date: 24 Aug 2014 Author: Jacqui Categories: Food, Main Dishes, Polenta 0


As already mentioned in a previous post, Polenta was an ingredient that I hardly used before I was diagnosed.  One reason was that in Malta it is not so popular so I hardly looked at it in supermarkets. When diagnosed you start to look for things you CAN eat.  So polenta was one of them.  And I got used to cooking with it as here in northern Italy, polenta is a traditional dish.  Today I use it a lot, in both sweet and savory dishes and I love it!

This is a recipe adapted from the Giallo Zaffareno Website, with some changes however .  I did not use Besciamella Sauce but instead used ricotta with a little lactose free cream and also spiced the polenta up a bit whilst cooking it as I find it too bland on its own.  The only problem I had was when piping the polenta (please do excuse my piping skills – haha you can see from first squiggly line as it was too hot!).  It has to be still hot (if not hot, still quite warm) or polenta starts to set.  Holding the piping bag was very hot, so do protect your hands either by using a tea towel or small silicone pads.  But the end result looks and tastes good!


For the Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups instant polenta (ensure it is gluten free)
  • 9 cups of water
  • 1 gluten free vegetable stock cube
  • Garlic Pepper (optional)
  • Sprinkle of Italian Herbs
  • Butter
  • 80g of Philadelphia cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper

For the Filling

  • 350g Italian Fennel Sausage or plain Italian Sausage, casing removed*
  • 300g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • White wine
  • 100g Ricotta
  • 2 tbsp lactose free cream or normal full cream
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Shake of Nutmeg
  • Herbs of your choice if using plain sausage
  • Freshly chopped Parsley


Start by preparing the filling.  Sautee the onion in a little oil until translucent.  Add the sausage meat, breaking it up while it cooks.  Add the minced garlic and then the sliced mushrooms.  Add a dash of wine, season with salt & pepper and the herbs if using, and leave to cook on a low heat until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates.  Mix has to be a bit dry.  When cool, add the ricotta, the cream and nutmeg.  Mix in also the chopped parsley. Combine well and set aside.

Lightly grease a 1o” ceramic pie dish.  Put the 9 cups of water in a pot.  Add the vegetable stock cube or granules, salt & pepper and garlic pepper if using and bring to a rolling boil.  Turn off the heat and pour in the polenta slowly, mixing with a whisk as you go to avoid lumps.  Keep mixing and then put it over a low flame, still mixing for a couple minutes.  Turn off the flame, add a knob of butter, the Philadelphia cheese and Parmesan cheese and herbs if using and combine well.  If too dry, add a little hot water.  Remember the consistency must be right as you have to pipe it.  Fill a piping bag with the polenta.  Leave to cool slightly until you can handle it or use something to protect your hand as it can be quite hot.

Start lining the dish in concentric circles starting from the outside in, covering the whole base.  Pipe another outside layer over the first one to create a ‘crust’.  Now pour the filling and level it with a spatula.  Pipe criss cross layers with the remaining polenta and sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for about three quarters of an hour.  Then increase the temperature to 250C on grill to brown the top.

Serve with plain green salad.

 * if you do not like sausage meat or else you do not find Italian Sausage available, you can also make this with mince and maybe some bacon instead of the sausage meat.

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