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Recipe: Heirloom polenta with hokkaido pumpkin and cavalo nero

One of my favorite dishes to make in winter is polenta. It’s hearty and warm and heats the inner fires. I found a great local source from Aspen Moon Farms in Hygiene, Colorado called, Organic Biodynamic Red “Floriani” Cornmeal. It has a rich yellow color with red flecks inside. It’s open-pollinated, non-GMO, and heirloom..out of Italy, which is why it is also great for making polenta, not just cornbread. For those who may or may not know, the Italians use “flint”corn for their polenta, which I recently learned is the same as native American calico corn, which surprised me. Each kernel has a hard outer layer to protect the soft endosperm, it is likened to being hard as flint; hence the name.

Here we have an Italian variety, named Floriani, for something that was originally ours, grown by the Pawnee Indians a 1000 years ago. This tells me that the Italians were better at appreciating a rustic, heirloom variety and keeping their tradition alive, especially in the popular Alpine polenta eating mountains in the north, more than we Americans were.

This is to say that polenta,  with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and parmigiano reggiano, make a delectable manage-a-trois. The addition of cavalo nero, and Italian version of flat-leafed kale, and chunks of  deep orange Hokkaido or Kabucha squash, makes this dish a winter winner.

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