Polenta Gratin or “Polenta alla nonna”

If you love polenta or grits and you’re looking for hearty cool weather dish, this recipe will serve you well.

Polenta Gratin or “Polenta alla nonna”

This polenta is actually a polenta, ham, tomato and cheese gratin. A very tasty dish for the cooler times of the year.This recipe uses a couple of ingredients you may not readily find but can easily find substitutes for.The first one of these is “Bramata Polenta” which can be replaced by any brand of coarse ground corn meal or “grits”.The other one is “Raclette” cheese. This can be substituted with (in order of my preference): Jarlsberg, Emmentaler (aka Swiss Cheese) or then Gruyere. If you’re really stuck, use “Mozz”.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Swiss
Servings 8
Calories 275 kcal



  • 250 g Bramata Polenta coarse yellow corn meal
  • 10 g Butter
  • 1/2 tsp 2 ml salt
  • 1 L Water
  • 150 g Raclette cheese


  • 250 g Pancetta or cooked ham sliced
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 can 400g Tomatoes, stewed, diced, preferably Pelati or Romano
  • Salt pepper and nutmeg to taste


  • In a large pot, bring water, salt, and butter to a boil
  • Add the corn meal and cook on low heat until desired consistency is reached 9depending on the type of corn meal used, this may take from a few minutes to 1 hour)
  • Wile the polenta is cooking…
  • Preheat oven to 200 °C (395 °F)
  • Cut pancetta or ham, thin slices or small cubes
  • Chop onions and garlic, fine
  • In a sauce pan melt butter and saute onions and garlic
  • Add ham and cook briefly
  • Add tomatoes and cook 10-15 minutes
  • Add salt and pepper to taste (also add a pinch of dried basil, if desired)
  • Chop 100 g of the Raclette cheese into small cubes and gently stir into the polenta once it is fully cooked
  • With heat off, let sit for 5 minutes, then stir once more, adding a pinch of nutmeg if desired
  • Working very quickly now as polenta will solidify rapidly making it difficult to spread, add half the polenta to a buttered baking dish of sufficient size and evenly spread out
  • Add sauce and spread remaining polenta over top
  • Grate remaining Raclette cheese over top
  • Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until you have a nice golden brown top
  • Serve hot
Keyword bramata polenta, grits, polenta
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