Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Papparocci – Bean and polenta slice

This bean and polenta dish harks back to the days when cucina povera – poor man’s food - wasn’t a fashionable foodie trend but a necessity for families who couldn’t afford meat and bread. Marcello dall’Aglio has put it on the menu at La Locanda as part of a campaign to revisit the traditional roots of cucina bolognese. He has it as an antipasto or even as a finger food for banquets. As the photo suggest, it can also be served as a more substantial dish, in this case accompanied by a simple tomato sauce. Other names: calzagatti, ciribusla.

There are three parts to the dish: the bean stew, the polenta and the tomato sauce.

Ingredients (enough for 4 as a substantial dish)

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions

4 sticks celery

2 medium carrots

3 cloves garlic

2 tins chopped tomatoes

4 bay leaves

4 finely chopped sage leaves

1 tin borlotti beans

salt and pepper to taste

400ml water

100g polenta

30g butter

60g grated parmesan

Method

1. chop the onion, garlic, celery and carrot into fine dice.

2. to make the tomato sauce, gently fry half the onion and garlic until they soften, then add a tin of tomatoes and the bay leaves.

3. to make the sauce for the beans, gently fry the remaining vegetables until then soften, then add the beans, a tin of tomatoes and the sage. Cook together on a very low light for an hour or in a cool oven for two hours.

4. to make the polenta, heat 400ml of water to simmering point, then gradually stir in the polenta. Cook for two minutes, being careful to avoid being spattered by the polenta (I wear kitchen gloves for protection), until it thickens, stirring constantly to prevent it catching on the bottom of the pan.

5. Add the butter and the parmesan and salt and pepper to taste, cooking and stirring for another couple of minutes.

6. Grease a large flat roasting pan with oil or butter and tip in the bean stew then the polenta, mixing them together. Allow to cool.

7. To serve hot, cut the bean and polenta mix into slices, fry in a couple of spoonfuls of olive oil, meanwhile reheating the tomato sauce.

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