polenta taragna with lamb

September 29th, 2008 · 25 Comments


polenta is a much loved staple in my home.  i see it as a perfect food, versatile beyond measure, lending itself to main courses, side dishes and desserts.  plus i’d never get the pizza off of the peel if not for my polenta.

awhile back i remember watching a molto mario episode where he made a polenta dish and added one part coarsely ground buckwheat flour into two parts cornmeal. mario has never led me astray so i decided to give the combination a try.  

after about 45 minutes and a lot of stirring, the two grains become polenta-esqe and i threw in a hunk of butter and some diced up tallegio cheese. mario went ahead and baked his taragna and i believe served it with a veal, sage and pancetta dish.  the bastardo…

alas, using only what was in my pantry and refrigerator, i sauteed a large spanish onion until golden, sliced a lonely looking yellow bell pepper and then added my ground lamb.  after the meat was just browned, i added some fresh chopped tomatoes, cooking for about more 5 minutes.  this was seasoned with oregano and a shot of very good balsamic vinegar to finish.  

i opted to keep my polenta taragna in more of a thick porridge like state.  again, rustic being my middle name (rustic substituting so wonderfully for unattractive and/or lazy) this suited my dinner purposes just fine.

ok ok.  i know what many of you are thinking.  there’s cornmeal, polenta, grits and somehow variations on each of these.  and now i’ve gone and thrown buckwheat flour into the mix. questions? go to anson mills. their elegant site will clue you in on everything you ever wanted to know about eating dried corn – and more.  

mario can inspire me like no other.  well except gabrielle hamilton.  

but she’s doesn’t have a tv show…


Tags: lamb · polenta

25 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Marcie // Sep 29, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious!!! I’m gonna try it TONIGHT! I just need the buckwheat


  • 2 MangerLaVille // Sep 29, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    I love polenta too. I just had it last night with lamb as well. I think buckwheat is an interesting idea. Must try. Is that what made it look speckled? Sounds delicious.

  • 3 peter // Sep 29, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Fill me up…rib-stickin’ Italiano comfort food…yes!

  • 4 maybelles mom (feeding maybelle) // Sep 29, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Oh, bash, this looks like wonderful home food. glad to see you are back home safely.

  • 5 Beth // Sep 29, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    This is the kind of food that I expect from you! I’m with Peter. Comfort Italian! SO GOOD !!!

  • 6 Tim // Sep 29, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Mario is totally inspiring, no doubt. But so are you. I’d eat this any night. You cooking?

    Love the blog, more and more!

  • 7 RosieHawthorne // Sep 29, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    I love the corn meals and grits and porridge from

  • 8 [eatingclub] vancouver || js // Sep 30, 2008 at 12:41 am

    Buckwheat in polenta? Definitely curiosity-inducing. I’d gobble this up any day.

  • 9 lifeinrecipes // Sep 30, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Did the buckwheat add much to some already perfect polenta, or was it just an extra at the end of the day? Whatever the result, this is a meal I’d like to have on this damp, gray and chilly Cleveland day.

  • 10 Daniel G // Sep 30, 2008 at 9:10 am

    I read all the time and love the Italian dishes you do. This is my first question. And it’s the same as everyone elses! The buckwheat. Is it making a big difference? Or is it just for looks? Don’t tell Mario I asked that. OK?

  • 11 Amy // Sep 30, 2008 at 9:21 am

    One word: Mmmmm………….

  • 12 Tommy Noodles // Sep 30, 2008 at 9:24 am

    The color alone is a slam dunk.

  • 13 Julia // Sep 30, 2008 at 9:45 am

    How do I love polenta, let me count the ways… This is a great idea… I have a half-share of a lamb coming my way this looks like a great idea for some of it.

  • 14 Choosy Beggar Tina // Sep 30, 2008 at 10:39 am

    I’m curious about the specks too! Is that from the buckwheat flour? And if a curious cook were to buy a bag of buckwheat flour, what else could they use it for?

    (other than pancakes. I loathe and despise pancakes)

  • 15 Jack // Sep 30, 2008 at 11:02 am

    You say polenta and I say grits
    You say breasts and I say…

    Call it what you wanna, stone ground heirloom corn with cheese is hard to beat whether you’re from Northern Italy or South Carolina. I love lamb and that’s another way to use tomatoes in the peak of season. I’m certain it was great eating. The Anson Mills story and products are interesting. It’s great to read about someone so committed to saving underappreciated varieties from extinction. Their cold milling process makes a lot of sense too.

  • 16 Robert // Sep 30, 2008 at 12:44 pm


    Now armed with the word ‘rustic’. I’ll never feel bad about serving grits with black specks again………

  • 17 Donald // Sep 30, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Buckwheat in polenta? How curious.

    I love the whole compilation here though.

    But, why does one just have buckwheat lying around the pantry?

  • 18 maggie // Sep 30, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Polenta for me tonight, too! I’ve heard of mixing buckwheat in—how fun!

  • 19 Peter // Sep 30, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Fall is polenta and lamb season, and you beat me to it. We’ve got a fantastic artisanal grain mill up here and it’s fun to mess with traditions.

  • 20 Mari // Sep 30, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    This looks amazing! I’m so ready for winter comfort food over here!

  • 21 Heather // Oct 1, 2008 at 12:28 am

    I agree that Mario never lets us down. The man actually knows his shit and isn’t a shill (like so many other Food Network frauds).

    This is looking like autumn…

  • 22 Melissa // Oct 1, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    I know polenta is a big thing over your way. I still haven’t made any, dammit.

    This does sound good… since I can still eat lamb ground, apparently.

  • 23 NOBLE PIG // Oct 1, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Oh Claudia I also agree polenta is a perfect food. Thank you for making me salivate!

  • 24 Brittany // Oct 2, 2008 at 10:59 am

    delish. I also prefer my polenta to be in a porrigy state. Preferably with something saucy and meaty on top as you have done.

  • 25 Terri // Oct 3, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    This looks like a great dinner for me to make my girlfriend. Not too hard and VERY authentic italian. She loves lamb. I am armed for the weekend now. Thanks.

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