Authentic Creamy Italian Polenta or Polenta Concia is one of the traditional polenta recipes from northern Italy.
“Concia” in the dialect of these Italian mountain areas means “fat-greasy”. The peculiarity of this recipe is in fact the addition of plenty of cheese and butter to the basic polenta recipe.
Typical of the Italian “cucina povera“, creamy polenta was in fact the main meal of farmers and shepherds for its low cost and its high satiating and energetic power.
The cheeses used are typical of every single region. For this reason there is no a unique recipe in Italy for Polenta Concia.
For example, in Val Tellina they use Bitto cheese, in Friuli Montasio, in Valle D’Aosta Fontina and finally in Lombardy Gorgorzola. You can also use a mix of cheeses, according to your taste.
To make this Italian recipe of creamy polenta concia, we are going to use Fontina, butter and some grated Parmigiano cheese.
But believe us, you can really use any cheese you prefer or have on hand. These cheeses, along with the butter, will make the polenta creamy, soft and irresistible!
Like Italian cheese fondue and many other typical mountain dishes, Polenta Concia is certainly not a low-calorie dish. But it’s the ideal comfort-food in the coldest days or simply to give us for once a unique delicacy!
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How to Make Authentic Creamy Italian Polenta called Polenta Concia
- Prep Time: 10 Min
- Cook Time: 45 Min. For the recipe for creamy polenta made in 10 minutes, read the paragraph below “Quick Creamy Polenta Recipe”.
- Servings: 4
Creamy Italian Polenta Ingredients
- 400 g (2 1/2 cups) of corn flour for polenta – Packages labeled “polenta” mean that the grind of the corn is appropriate to make the polenta dish. You can even substitute it with coarsely-ground cornmeal.
- 2 liters (8 1/2 cups) of water
- 1 tablespoon of coarse salt
- 300 g (10,5 0z) of Fontina Cheese
- 100 g (about 1 stick) of unsulted butter
- 80 g (2/3 cup) of grated Parmigiano cheese
- ground black pepper
Kitchen Tools and Equipment
Polenta has always been cooked in Italy in a “paiolo”: apot made of copper or a non-stick cauldron with a high thickness to spread the heat evenly and to cook the corn perfectly.
You need a long wooden spoon because the polenta has a long cooking time and you have to stir it often. At the beginning mix with a hand whisk: it helps not to form lumps.
Of course today there are many tools that help us to make an excellent polenta without working too hard. So have a look to this beautiful electric polenta copper pot.
It’s better to serve creamy Italian polenta in large pasta bowl that keep the polenta hot longer.
And finally look at this beautiful sets for polenta, maybe for a nice gift idea!
Proportions between water and corn flour are important for the preparation of polenta. In fact you can make polenta with different consistencies: soft to eat with cheeses or hard and firm to eat as an accompaniment to meat sauces or stews.
The classic ratio for a medium polenta consistency is 1 part polenta to 4 parts of water.
Here the POLENTA RATIO for any type of polenta:
- 1 liter of water (4 1/4 cups) + 300 g (2 cups) of corn flour for a firm polenta
- 1 liter of water (4 1/4 cups) + 250 g (1 1/2 cup) of corn flour for a medium consistency polenta
- 1 liter of water (4 1/4 cups) + 200 g (1 1/4) of corn flour for a very soft polenta.
For this recipe you need a SOFT POLENTA so follow carefully the doses indicated in the paragraph above “Creamy Italian Polenta Ingredients”.
Step 1) – To make creamy Italian polenta (or Polenta Concia, as we call this recipe in Italy), start by preparing the Fontina cheese. Carefully remove the rind from the cheese and then cut the Fontina into cubes. Set aside along with half of the butter.
Step 2) – Put the polenta pot (paiolo) or a thick-bottomed, high-sided pot, on the stove. Pour in the water. When it begins to boil, add the coarse salt.
Finally pour in the corn flour a little at a time. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or a hand whisk, so that no lumps form.
The TRICK is to pour slowly while stirring quickly!
Step 3) -Keep cooking for about 30 minutes over low heat without stopping stirring. Be careful not to let the polenta stick to the bottom of the pot.
Step 4) – When there are about 10 minutes left in the cooking time, add the butter and cheese pieces to the polenta.
Stir constantly until the polenta is cooked and the cheeses and butter inside are melted.
Step 5) – Pour the very hot Polenta concia immediately into soup plates or large pasta bowls. They allow the creamy polenta to stay hot longer.
With the back of a spoon, make a small hollow in the center of the hot polenta. Place a small piece of butter. It will melt immediately. Then season with ground black pepper and a little grated Parmigiano cheese.
Authentic Creamy Italian Polenta is ready. Enjoy it very hot, creamy and soft!
Quick Creamy Polenta Recipe
You can also make this creamy polenta recipe in no time at all, 10 minutes! Let’s see how to make it.
Instant polenta recipe is nothing more than polenta made with a special corn flour for instant polenta. It’s super fast to make! Follow all the steps of this recipe carefully, using this Molino Rossetto Instant Polenta flour. It cooks in 5 minutes!
Add the butter and cheese 3 minutes after the flour.
You can store leftover Polenta Concia in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Cover it with plastic wrap or keep in an airtight container.
You can reheat it in the oven or cut it into slices and toast them in a frying pan or toaster oven.
How to Enjoy Creamy Italian Polenta
You have to consider creamy Italian polenta as a complete dish, very rich and nutritious.
In fact, this creamy polenta recipe is a whole meal, that adds the proteins of butter and cheese to the carbohydrates of polenta.
In Italy they often eat it alone, as a single dish. Although sometimes you can find creamy polenta as a side dish to meat stews, especially in mountain restaurants. It’s the perfect comfort food for cold winter days, perhaps in mountain huts and on the ski slopes!
Northern Italian families, however, use basic polenta, made only with water and corn flour, to accompany meat dishes. Kind of like a bread substitute. They use basic polenta recipe to serve with various dishes. For example with meat and fish stews, especially with mushroom or sausage sauce.
Creamy Polenta: Some Variants
As we said, every region of Northern Italy has its own version of Polenta Concia. According to the cheese used which varies from place to place.
For example, in Val Tellina is used Bitto, in Friuli Montasio, in Valle D’Aosta Fontina and finally in Lombardy Gorgorzola.
But let’s see some variants of the Italian creamy polenta recipe according to the ingredients and the cooking method.
Polenta Concia, Alto Adige Recipe
The most particular variant of Polenta Concia is the one found in Alto Adige. In this version, in addition to butter and Asiago cheese, they add a white onion and plenty of Speck.
Cut them both into strips and stew in a pan. Then add to the creamy polenta.
Complete with fresh parsley and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.
Oven-Baked Creamy Polenta Recipe
Another variation involves the cooking method.
Many people prepare Creamy Polenta baked in the oven.
Prepare the basic polenta recipe (without cheese). Then in a baking dish make layers as if it were a Lasagna!
First put on the bottom the polenta. Then a layer of shredded cheese and butter, also shredded. A sprinkling of Parmigiano cheese (optional) and cover everything with another layer of polenta.
Make two or three layers, depending on the depth of the pan and the amount of ingredients.
Finish the last layer with cheese.
Bake at 200°C (390 F) for about half an hour or until a flavorful golden crust has formed on the surface.
Polenta Taragna Recipe
There is also a variant of Italian creamy Polenta, which concerns the type of flour used. It’s called Polenta Taragna.
This recipe is made with a mixture of whole corn flour and buckwheat flour of medium grain. They gives it the typical dark color and rustic flavor. On the market there are mixtures of flour already ready for Polenta Taragna. Try this Moretti Taragna Polenta with Buckwheat by Moretti.
The recipe of Polenta Taragna is common in northern Lombardy, especially in Valtellina. Even the recipe of Polenta Taragna consists in adding cheese and butter during the cooking of the polenta.