Polenta Carbonera

The “leftovers” recipe

As precious as gold, in Trentino too, polenta has fed many generations of families from past to present. A unique dish, often served all by itself, seasoned with quel che c’è – whatever you have available. The rediscovery of maize flour has made its way even into Italy’s most award-winning kitchens. It’s highly versatile, with every region and family having its own recipe. It’s nutritious, a meal in its own right. It’s flavoursome, with a taste that can improve any ingredient, from vegetables to game meat.

We suggest here a typical version from the Giudicarie valleys, in western Trentino, which must be made exclusively with the prized yellow flour from Storo, a local cheese, tasty Spressa delle Giudicarie cheese, Lucanica sausage, and a good red wine. It is the original recipe from the Cooperativa Agri 90, the consortium of producers of the prized Storo maize flour. The recipe used to be followed by the charcoal burners who still inhabited the valley in the 1900s, using quel che c’era – whatever they had available.

The recipe for Polenta Carbonera

Ingredients for 6 people

  • 4 liters water
  • 1 kg Storo Agri90 yellow flour
  • 200 g butter
  •  250 g Spressa hard cheese
  • 250 g Spressa soft cheese
  • 100 g Trentino grana cheese
  • 500 g fresh salami
  • 1 glass of wine
  • Salt and pepper



Bring water to the boil in a large pan or traditional copper pot. Add coarse salt. Start slowly pouring in the flour, stirring quickly with a whisk to prevent lumps from forming.

Let the polenta mixture rest for two to three minutes and then bring it back to the boil while mixing clockwise with a “trisa”, if you have this traditional wooden ladle, for about half an hour, depending on the desired consistency.

Meanwhile, in another pan, melt the butter, add the salami and pan fry until brown. Add the wine and let it evaporate.

When the polenta is ready, add the salami, diced Spressa cheese, grana cheese and pepper. Mix it all together, pour onto a wooden board and bring to the table. Buon appetito!

Published on 06/06/2023