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Polenta Soup with Crispy Pancetta and Kale

4 Servings

40 minutes 15 minutes active

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This is our take on polentina, a traditional Italian peasant soup that’s not much more than brothy polenta. We, however, add pancetta, leeks and rosemary to give the dish complexity and round out the flavor of the corn. Topped with broth-blanched kale laced with sweet-tart pickled peppers, this soup is a light but satisfying meal in a bowl.




Don't allow the soup to boil after the cornmeal is added. Slow simmering ensures the consistency doesn't become too thick or gluey.

40 minutes

15 minutes active



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Mary K.
January 8, 2023
Simple soup
Need to use a flavorful broth for the best result.
Michele R.

Love polenta at our house and cook it often but had not considered format as soup until this recipe and it is a delicious treatment. Although kale isn't our fav green leafy veg, we made it as written the first time. Really good. Then a second pass a couple of weeks later - it had been that good to want an encore - and that time we eliminated the kale from the leek saute step since we didn't have it on hand while all the other ingredients are staples. We still included all the other finishing ingredients of pepperadew with the leeks and plucked some whole leaves of fresh flat leaf parsley to stir together with the leeks to add green and herb when stirring in the pepperadew. Also delicious. Either way, this recipe is a keeper.

Leslie J.

My husband is not a polenta fan so I made a pot of this just for myself. I even poached an egg in it for breakfast. Delicious!

Jerica S.

My local grocer was out of stoneground cornmeal so I bought a log of the precooked polenta - will this be a proper substitute, or ruin the texture of the dish?

Lynn C.

Hi Jerica -

The precooked log-style of polenta is more suited to recipes that call for cooked, cooled, and firmed polenta such as polenta cakes or polenta fries. For this recipe you will need need cornmeal.

The Milk Street Team