Polentone (polenta head) is an affectionately derogatory term used by people in the south of Italy to describe north Italians. In a country known for its culture of slow eating it is not surprising that a food term should be used to distinguish people from different regions. I live in the north and am a proud Polentone. There is nothing more comforting than a dish of this creamy yellow sustenance on a damp foggy autumn day. Of course, it belongs  to the tradition of Cucina Povera, as all the best dishes do.

The other day I was shopping in my corner shop for an easy supper and I saw a variation of polenta that I had forgotten about: Calzagatti.  These are made of cooked polenta mixed with bacon and beans to form a thick dough, which is then cut into chunks, and fried. Surprised by joy (as Wordsworth would say), I bought some, along with a piece of deep orange baked pumpkin. That evening, with a glass of Lambrusco, I dined like a diva.


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