The Buona Pasqua Lunch and The Secret Of No Stir Polenta Recipe

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Easter around our house is like the Tri-fecta of family holidays. Not only is there the big celebration of Easter, a huge deal in Italian households. But at Casa Gori, we also add in my parents anniversary and this year, my fathers' 91st birthday. Last year for his 90th, he got an iPod. Probably he was the oldest iPod owner out there at the time.
My parents examine one of this years' anniversary presents, a deck of trivia cards based on events from the year they were married.
My mother who is an insane practical joker brought over what she clams was my "first Easter dress".
Seeing as it came on a tiny dolls' hanger, I have my doubts. My father however, backs her up. But then again he always does. That's how they roll.

Feeding my Italian family is no easy task. They are the pickiest of picky eaters and I have now taken on the mantle of "The One Who Feeds The Family At All Festivities". This is in part because we have the biggest dining room table and also it's my turn. Besides, my mother keeps telling everyone that she wishes she had a house without a kitchen. Just so we all know where she's coming from.
Every holiday at our house we go back to my Tuscan roots and spread out all the family faves. This usually includes polenta, the delicious cornmeal concoction dear to the heart of every Northern Italian.
There are two things I don't like about polenta. The standing and the stirring. The way I was taught to make it years ago involved standing and stirring for what seemed like forever with a big wooden spoon. This may have been great hanging around the kitchen back in Fiano but when there are a bunch of other dishes on the fire and no passel of sister-in-laws, cousins, et al to help, it can get old fast.
I dreamed of the no stir polenta. Then I found it. All because of my Clay Coyote Pot.
Paula Wolfert turned me on to these clay pots and I have a large cazuela that makes perfect polenta every time. Only one quick stir is all that's needed. Pretty nifty.
The other great thing about this recipe is that it cooks at the same temperature as the pork loin with herbs and whole grain mustard which was my main course. It can't get simpler than that.
The whole dish cooks up in about 1 hour, and will serve 6 to 8 people as a side dish.
This is how it goes:

Prep time:
Cook time:
Servings: 8


Cost per serving $0.06 view details
  • 1 quart of water
  • 1 cup of finely ground polenta cornmeal
  • 2 Tbs of salt
  • 2 tbs of unsalted butter cut into little pieces
  • freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven up to 350 degrees.
  2. In a clay casserole of any oven proof baking dish mix:
  3. 1 quart of water
  4. 1 cup of finely ground polenta cornmeal
  5. 1 Tbs of salt
  6. 2 tbs of unsalted butter cut into little pieces
  7. freshly ground pepper to taste
  8. Stir it all together and put it into the oven in the middle of the top rack.
  9. Then leave it to cook for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes take it out and stir it well, mix in anything you wish to put into the polenta, butter, cheese, you name it. My favorite is butter and a mix of grated parmesan and pecorino cheese.
  10. Mix in the fixings you choose, then pop it back in for another 10 minutes. After that, take it out to rest for about 10 minutes and serve.
  11. This is my polenta in its Clay Coyote casserolle. My picky family loves this dish . I love this dish because it's so dang easy. I'm actually thinking of trying to make risotto in this same clay pot in the same way just to see what happens as I hate standing around stirring risotto.
  12. My mother actually asked me for the recipe last year and now she makes it all the time. It's probably the first time in Gori family history that a recipe traveled in the opposite generational direction.


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Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving %DV
Serving Size 126g
Recipe makes 8 servings
Calories 25  
Calories from Fat 25 100%
Total Fat 2.88g 4%
Saturated Fat 1.82g 7%
Trans Fat 0.0g  
Cholesterol 8mg 3%
Sodium 1749mg 73%
Potassium 1mg 0%
Total Carbs 0.0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0.0g 0%
Sugars 0.0g 0%
Protein 0.03g 0%
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  • Claudia lamascolo
    this is one of my favorites great info and wonderful memories for me as a child thanks!
    • I Sicilian
      Love tips that make cooking easier and faster. It's a busy life out there, but don't want to give up quality of food. Polenta in the oven sounds like no work.
      Thanks for the tip!
      I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
      • Winelady Cooks
        Hi Kathy,
        Great story and love the recipe. Polenta and risotto some of my passions. I will have to try your recipe.

        Thanks for sharing,
        • madonna del piatto
          This is a fantastic idea, thank you Kathy. I had not realized your family is Italian even tough your name obviously is. I wonder if you turned to Indian cooking because traditional Italian recipes are so work intensive. Luckily modern Italian cuisine is suited to every day life! I had been looking for a while for a way to make an easy polenta and I will surely try this.


          • Patrick Travis
            April 12, 2010
            I love polenta but I usually skip fixing it due to the constant stirring that's required. I'll give this a shot with my next braised pork shanks.
            • Patricia Turo
              April 8, 2010
              This pot sounds interesting. I have seen polenta made by bring it to a boil and then putting a kitchen towel over the top and then the pan cover over the towel and letting it stand over a low heat without stirring.

              By the way we have a Gori family in our village in Switzerland. Until this year they ran a beautiful mountain restaurant. She is Swiss, but he is from the Tuscana. Wonder if they are related.
              • Sue McRoberts Hawirko
                April 7, 2010

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