Though rice and pasta are appreciated in Friuli, polente (polenta) is the basic starch; Friulians are even sometimes called polentoni.

Yield: serves 4-6


  • 1 tbsp. coarse salt
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 23 cups coarse yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Put coarse salt into water in a heavy medium pot. Stir in yellow cornmeal. (Adding cornmeal to cold water helps keep the polente free of lumps.)
  2. Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and continue cooking, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until polente pulls away from the sides of the pot, 30-40 minutes. Stir in extra-virgin olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Polente may be served immediately or cooled slightly, then poured into a shallow, lightly oiled baking dish and allowed to set. Once set, cut polente into rectangular slices about 3” x 4”. Warm slices briefly in the oven before serving, or grill them briefly on a medium-hot grill (just enough to leave grill marks).