Trentino and Alto Adige are two adjoining alpine regions in Italy's north, grouped together for administrative purposes. Alto-Adige's cuisine has a distinct Austrian influence, while Trentino leans more towards the Veneto. Smacafam, the "hunger beater" of Trentino, is typically made with buckwheat and baked, but variations (including sweet ones) abound. Here we've used sausage (traditionally luganega) in a wetter polenta version.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 30 gm lardo, finely chopped (see note)
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 4 thick Italian pork sausages, thickly sliced
- 175 gm portobello mushrooms (about 3 large), coarsely chopped
- 200 ml red wine
- 200 gm canned cherry tomatoes
- 1 rosemary sprig, plus extra leaves to serve
- 750 ml chicken stock (3 cups)
- 180 gm polenta
- 30 gm butter, coarsely chopped
- 30 gm finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
- 1For soft polenta, bring stock and 550ml water to the boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add polenta, whisking continuously until combined, season to taste, then simmer, stirring occasionally, then continuously as polenta thickens, until thick and smooth (30-35 minutes). Stir in butter and cheese, season to taste and keep warm.
- 2Meanwhile, heat oil and lardo in a large deep-sided frying pan and stir occasionally until lardo renders (2-3 minutes). Add onion and garlic and stir occasionally until tender (4-5 minutes). Add sausage and turn occasionally until browned (1-2 minutes), then add mushroom and wine and simmer until reduced by half (2-3 minutes). Add tomato and rosemary sprig, season to taste and simmer until sausage is cooked through (4-5 minutes).
- 3To serve, spoon polenta onto a board or platter, spoon over sausage mixture, scatter with extra rosemary and cheese and serve hot.
Lardo is pork back-fat that's been salted and cured. It's available from select delicatessens and Italian butchers. If it's unavailable, add an extra tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.
This recipe is from the April 2012 issue of