Polenta and Parmigiano Reggiano Cakes with Pork Sugo
You can serve these cakes in small bites as appetizers, or make the portions larger and serve them as a main course. Make the pork sugo and the polenta in advance and put the two together at the last minute.
Servings Prep Time
6people 4hours
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
6people 4hours
Cook Time
  1. In a large pot, bring ten cups of water to a boil. Stirring continuously, slowly add the polenta in a thin stream. Cook the polenta until it is completely cooked and begins to pull away from the sides of the pot, stirring often. This may take up to an hour. You may need to add more hot water from time to time if the polenta becomes too thick. Always add water in small increments, about one cup at a time.
  2. When the polenta is cooked and smooth, add the butter and stir until melted. Stir in the freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and season with salt to taste. Pour the hot polenta onto a greased baking sheet, cover with parchment to prevent a skin from forming, and let cool. The polenta can be prepared a day in advance.
  3. Cut the pork shoulder into 1 1/2-inch cubes. In a spice mill or mortar and pestle combine the fennel, brown sugar, salt and black peppercorns and grind them into a powder. Season the pork cubes on all sides with the spice rub.
  4. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. In small batches, brown the pieces of pork shoulder on all sides, being careful not to burn the spices. When all the pork has been browned, remove to a plate and pour off any of the fat.
  5. Add the pancetta to the pot and cook until lightly browned, rendering its fat. Add the onion, fennel, celery and carrot and cook until tender. Add the garlic and chili and cook another minute or two until the garlic is no longer raw. Add the tomato paste and cook until it takes on a deep red brick color, about ten minutes.
  6. Return the pork to the pot and cover with the milk. Cook until the milk is completely reduced. Add the white wine and reduce by half. Add the tomatoes and the stock and simmer until the pork is tender, about three to four hours. Season to taste and set aside.
  7. Cut out 3-inch circles from the cold polenta. Heat two nonstick sauté pans over high heat and add a film of olive oil in each. Fry the polenta cakes on each side until golden brown. Plate and top with a large spoonful of the pork and garnish with a small arugula leaf.
Recipe Notes
Nutrition Facts
Polenta and Parmigiano Reggiano Cakes with Pork Sugo
Amount Per Serving
Calories 189 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 23%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 23mg 8%
Sodium 258mg 11%
Potassium 125mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 1g
Protein 12g 24%
Vitamin A 3%
Vitamin C 11%
Calcium 37%
Iron 2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.