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Polenta Soup with Kale and Parmesan

4-6 Servings

30 minutes

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Polentina alla toscana, a rustic Italian soup, is a brothy version of soft polenta with a few added ingredients. For our take, we use water as the liquid, not chicken or vegetable stock, so the corn flavor is more pronounced. It’s important, however, to use coarse stoneground cornmeal to obtain the correct texture and taste. Lacinato kale, the type called for here, is sometimes referred to as Tuscan or dinosaur kale; the dark-green leaves become tender after only a few minutes of cooking. If you would like to make the soup heartier, add a can of cannellini beans (rinsed and drained) along with the kale.



30 minutes


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Lawrence C.
October 15, 2022
Polenta Soup
I made this with half chicken stock half water and used 6 or 7 ounces of cheese (half 'n half parm and asiago). Added a jalapeno to the onion and navy beans with the kale. We loved it!
Phillip B.
October 16, 2022
Pretty darn good
I used chicken stock, because I love it; same for Aleppo pepper. I am also blessed with a fully operational grist mill in my hometown that my brother in law grows the corn for. I love this soup! Gonna use homemade turkey stock and offer this at Thanksgiving.
Linda S.
July 16, 2022
Too thin. Not enough flavor. Not bad but not great.
Jennifer C.

I found this a little bland as written, so I "souped" (lol) it up with the following:
2 boullion cubes
xtra parm (kept adding until I got a strong flavor)
then it was awesome!
Added some white beans too. We're loving it for lunches this week.
I wonder if my result could be because I was using a lower quality domestic parm versus true parmiagiano reggiano? I would guess a stronger imported parm wouldn't need as much flavor help. Your mileage may vary!

Ruth H.

Sometimes Asiago will give a better flavor using less cheese.

Scott H.

Mine turned out great! I did use chicken stock instead of water. I also added pancetta and the beans as you suggested. Will make again for sure!!

Diana L.

I just made this soup as written. It tastes really good. The rosemary gave this soup an excellent flavor. I am not sure why previous review stated that it was bland (possibly not using fresh rosemary). I will be making this soup again.

Linda W.

Parade Magazine's adaptation adds a can of cannellini beans, similar to others' recommendations above. Seems like a good idea.

flavia Z.

I made this as written first, and it was wonderful, the leeks give it a special something. I wanted to make it again, but had some cooked polenta I was going to fry, but didn't feel like it. So I added the cooked block of polenta instead, and used a potato masher. It wasn't smooth like the original, but it had a more 'rustic' feel that was still soft and delicious. Thank you Milk Street!


I used chicken broth, added beans, and also some carrots and celery. I found this incredibly bland, and not something I would make again.

Venita D.

I loved this soup. I used spinach and put a small piece of Parmesan with the rind in for extra flavor. I also added fresh oregano and red pepper flakes.