Chestnut Polenta with Pancetta, Balsamic Vinegar, and Ricotta: Pattona
Boil the water in a large saucepan and add salt. Once boiling, remove from the heat and pour into a copper pot. Add the flour and, with a wooden paddle, create a hole in the middle of the mixture so that the water begins to bubble over. Place on the stove and simmer slowly for 40 minutes.
Remove from the heat and beat vigorously with the paddle/wooden spoon until the polenta forms a smooth, firm consistency. Place the mixture on a wooden board, and shape into a large ball with your hands (cold water will help keep your hands cool). Allow to cool for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, cut the pancetta into small cubes and saute in a frying pan with the olive oil. Once the pancetta has turned a golden brown, splash the balsamic vinegar into the pan and allow the pancetta to caramelise with the sweet vinegar. It is now ready to serve with the polenta.
Assemble the dish onto a plate: a wedge of polenta , pancetta and a fresh slice of ricotta cheese. The flavours will balance each other perfectly and all you need is a generous drizzle of olive oil and thyme and marjoram to garnish.