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Polenta concia

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This comforting polenta dish from Valle d'Aosta (or the Aosta Valley) is hugely popular across the tiny northwest region. Rich with milk, butter and the area's famous Fontina cheese, it's incredibly indulgent and the perfect fodder for staving off the cold mountain weather.

If you're struggling to get your hands on Fontina, then it can be substituted with Toma or Taleggio (two other famous northern Italian cheeses), or you could even use Emmental, Grùyere or Gouda. However, for the real Aostan polenta experience, only Fontina will do!

Ingredients

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  • 250g of polenta
  • 1l water
  • 200ml of whole milk
  • 80g of fontina cheese, or another alpine cheese such as Emmental, Toma or Taleggio
  • 80g of unsalted butter, softened, plus a little extra melted butter for drizzling
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
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Method

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1
Bring the water to the boil and add plenty of salt. Whisk in the polenta and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring often to break up any lumps. If the polenta becomes too thick and starts sticking, add a little more water
2
Remove the rind from the cheese (if it has one) and dice into small cubes
3
Stir the milk into the polenta to loosen, then add the cheese and butter and continue stirring until melted. Taste for seasoning and serve with plenty of black pepper (and a little more melted butter) on top
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