Polenta con due salse (polenta with two sauces)

Choose a traditional pepper and onion sauce or spicy chilli and mushroom sauce for Ursula Ferrigno's adaptable polenta recipe
By Ursula Ferrigno
Polenta con due salse (polenta with two sauces)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 1 litres vegetable bouillon or water
  • freshly ground salt and black pepper
  • 200 g coarse, slow-cook polenta
  • 2 clove garlic, crushed
  • 115 g unsalted butter
  • 115 g parmesan, freshly grated

For a pepperonata (pepper and onion sauce):

  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 large red peppers, deseeded and cut into strips
  • 2 large yellow peppers, deseeded and cut into strips
  • freshly ground salt and black pepper
  • 350 g tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

For a salsa di funghi (mushroom sauce):

  • 675 g wild mushrooms, such as porcini or ceps and field mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 55 g unsalted butter
  • 1 small fresh red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • freshly ground salt and black pepper
  • handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped


1. In a saucepan, bring the bouillon or water and 1 teaspoon of salt to the boil.

2. Gradually add the polenta, stirring with a wooden spoon to prevent lumps. Reduce the heat and continue stirring until the polenta pulls away from the sides of the pan.

3. Add the garlic, butter, cheese and seasoning, and continue cooking for about 40 minutes, stirring frequently, until smooth and glossy.

4. Meanwhile, make one of the sauces:For the pepperonata, heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the peppers, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and parsley, then adjust the seasoning, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently until thickened. (This can be served hot or cold as an antipasto.) For the salsa di funghi, clean the mushrooms by trimming away the dry ends, brushing away any soil or grit, and wiping with a damp cloth. Coarsely chop the mushrooms and place in a large saucepan. Stir in the oil, butter and chilli and season to taste. Cover and cook gently over a medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes. Stir in the parsley.

5. Pour your chosen sauce over the polenta and serve.

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