Polenta is a fantastic pantry staple as it is quite easy to prepare. In this Italian dish the polenta is served with snails cooked in beurre noisette, literally "hazelnut butter". The butter is cooked until golden brown and nutty in fragrance, then lemon juice and rind are added making a delicious pan sauce for the dish.






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (9 votes)


For the polenta

  • 200 g milk 
  • 200 ml chicken stock
  • 100 g instant polenta
  • 100 g grated parmesan cheese
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 tbsp truffle oil
  • salt and pepper

For the sauce

  • 3 large slices pancetta
  • 60 g butter
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 1 dozen snails, left whole
  • 1 lemon rind finely grated
  • 100 ml lemon juice
  • 1 handful baby spiach leaves


Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To cook the polenta, bring milk and chicken stock to the boil in a pot over high heat. Whisk in polenta and reduce heat to low so it is just slowly bubbling. Stir occasionally as it cooks, after 10 minutes add cheese, butter and oil. Season to taste. 

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200ºC. Cook pancetta slices on a tray until golden and crisp.

To make the sauce, melt butter in a large frying pan over low-medium heat, fry sage leaves slowly in the butter until crisp and butter turns nut brown. Add snails, lemon rind and lemon juice. Sauté briefly until warmed through then toss spinach through the pan to wilt. 

Serve polenta, spoon sauce over and top with crispy pancetta.