Monica Buck
MAKES: About 4 1/2 cups; 4 to 6 servings

NOTES: Pancetta is available in many supermarkets and at Italian groceries. Garnish the polenta with sprigs of fresh sage or with fried sage leaves.

How to Make It

Step 1

In a 2 1/2- to 3-quart pan over medium-high heat, stir pancetta in olive oil until crisp and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer half the pancetta to paper towels to drain.

Step 2

Add chopped sage to pan and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 5 cups water and bring to a boil.

Step 3

Following steps 2 and 3 of basic polenta recipe, add polenta (omit salt in step 2) and cook until tender to bite. Add salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste (omit butter).

Step 4

Ladle polenta into bowls and top with reserved pancetta.

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