Polenta, we admit, is not pasta; but you will find polenta in the pasta section of many menus. And besides, polenta is awesome. We figured that was enough reason to include this fabulous recipe here, just in time for holiday menu planning. If you’re looking for a warm, cheesy, comforting bowl of love, this is your dish.
Polenta is always made better by the addition of cheese, and one of the best cheeses to add is Sottocenere al Tartufo (an Italian cheese that translates as “under ash, with truffles”). Sottocenere is a raw cow’s milk cheese laced with bits of black truffles. The outside is rubbed with an intriguing mix of ash, cinnamon, fennel, licorice, nutmeg, and other aromatic spices. The result is a creamy cheese with subtle hints of truffle that melts beautifully into hot bowls of polenta; try not to lose yourself in its intoxicating scent.
- 3 teaspoons salt
- cup uncooked polenta (not instant or quick-cooking polenta)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 7 ounces Sottocenere al Tartufo, rind removed and cheese shredded
- Shaved black truffles (optional)
- Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Whisk in the polenta and butter. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes to bring the ingredients together and prevent the polenta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Remove from heat. Add 5 ounces of the cheese and stir until melted. Serve in bowls, topped with a little more cheese and, if you wish, shaved truffles.
Alternative Cheeses: Moliterno Black Truffle Pecorino, Truffle Tremor, Parmigiano-Reggiano (with maybe a small hint of truffle oil if you feel decadent)
Wine pairings: Nebbiolo, Pinot Noir