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How to Make Polenta Like Chef Christian Petroni

Gotham Magazine

Gotham Magazine

March 17, 2016


With two iterations of Fortina, an imaginative take on Italian fare, in Westchester and Stamford, Connecticut, chef Christian Petroni has a good handle on the nearby NYC foodie scene. On Saturday, March 19, Petroni will showcase his epicurean prowess at a St. Joseph’s Feast Dinner at James Beard House. The event will start off with hors d’oeuvres like burrata balloons with prosciutto and giardiniera and move on to mains like canederli bread dumplings with sardines, raisins, pine nuts, fennel, and garlic before finishing off with tartufo with burrata gelato, wood-roasted almonds, amarena cherries, struffoli, chocolate sauce, and rainbow sprinkles. We spoke with Petroni before the big day to get his scoop on top New York food spots, how to make a quick and delicious polenta, and thoughts on up-and-coming chefs.


What is your favorite place to eat in New York and what do you order there? 
Christian Petroni: Peasant, one of my early inspirations. I have been going since I was 19 years old—Frank [DeCarlo] was so ahead of his time. I always loved seeing him on the pasta station any day I went, holding it down. The soft polenta is something that I always need to have multiple orders of.

In your opinion, who is a rising-star chef to watch in New York? 
CP: Will Horowitz of Ducks Eatery and Harry and Ida’s.

If you could have dinner with any New York chef, dead or alive, who would it be? 
CP: James Beard—I heard that guy knew how to party.

What New York City neighborhood do you think has the best food scene? 
CP: Lower East Side.

What are you most looking forward to about the James Beard Foundation event? 
CP: This being my sixth time cooking at the Beard House, it always feels like a kind of homecoming. I love seeing the familiar faces and love the buzz and the rush you get from your quintessential Beard dinner.

Can you share one of your signature recipes with us?
CP: Quick polenta (pictured above).

What kind of food does New York need more of? 
CP: I think we can always use more young talent with the freedom to cook the food they are excited about. We need more people to believe in the younger up-and-coming chefs, and give them an opportunity to shine.

Get the recipe for Christian Petroni's quick polenta.


This interview was originally published on​