1 6-ounce stick pepperoni, diced

1 cup polenta

1 quart water

Several pinches red chile flakes

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup grated Parmegiano-Reggiano

Kosher salt


Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Heat a small, heavy sauté pan over medium-low heat until hot but not smoking. Add the pepperoni and fry, tossing frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until rendered. Drain on paper towels.


Combine the polenta, water, chile flakes, and a generous pinch of pepper in a small pot. Heat to a bare simmer, stirring occasionally. Transfer to the oven and bake for about half an hour, or until the polenta is tender and creamy. Stir in the Parmegiano and pepperoni and season to taste with salt. Divide among individual plates and serve immediately.


Serves 4. Stir in a splash of cream or a pat of butter for an even creamier polenta. This polenta just begs to be topped with Roasted Grape Tomatoes. Transform it into an all-purpose, basic polenta by omitting the pepperoni. This recipe doesn’t take well to being doubled.