Ingredients for 4 people:2L water600 g chestnut flour salt
“Wooden bread and wine from the clouds”. This is how the older generation in our area still refer to chestnut polenta and water, which constituted the basis of the mountain dwellers’ staple diet. Today this polenta is a typical autumnal delight, like ther delicacies that can be made from chestnut flour, such as “castagnaccio” (a typical Tuscan chestnut cake), “necci” (chestnut pancakes) and chestnut flour fritters.
Bring the water to the boil; tradition has it that this should be done in a copper cauldron, but a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan is fine too. When the water is boiling, add a pinch of salt and tip all the chestnut flour in together. Leave to cook for 25-30 minutes without stirring, turning the heat down to minimum when it comes back to the boil. The water will boil around the flour, without impregnating it completely. At this point pour the water off into another receptacle and stir the polenta, if necessary adding some of the water with which it boiled, a little at a time, until it is “firm” enough. The dish will be ready when the polenta begins to “exhale”, that’s to say large bubbles rise to the surface (it should take around 40 minutes in all). Rinse a salad bowl with cold water so that it is wet inside and pour in the polenta; when it has cooled down it will be ready to serve.
Traditionally, if the consistency is right, it is turned out onto a pastry board and cut into slices using cotton thread. This polenta can be eaten with various “additions”, as well as on its own; a typical, delicious combination is with fresh ricotta.