This section is from the book "Simple Italian Cookery", by Antonia Isola. Also available from Amazon: Simple Italian Cookery.
3/4 of a cup of yellow Indian meal (fine).
3 cups of water.
Put the water into a granite or iron saucepan, add salt. When it begins to boil add the Indian meal, little by little. Keep stirring constantly as you pour it in, to prevent lumps. Boil for one-half hour, stirring constantly over a moderate fire. If desired, a little more water may be added if preferred not so thick. Add grated cheese and butter.
Put one pinch of salt and one tablespoon of sugar into a cup of milk, and put it on to boil. As soon as it boils pour in, little by little, one-half scant cup of fine Indian meal, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Allow it to boil gently for twenty minutes.
Take it off the stove, add one level tablespoon of butter and the yolk of one egg and a little grated lemon-peel. Beat up well to mix the egg and butter. Then turn the mixture onto the bread-board, which has been dampened; spread it out to the thickness of a finger. Allow it to cool, then cut into squares or diamonds or little rounds, dip these into egg and then into the bread crumbs, and fry them in boiling lard, a few at a time. Sprinkle with sugar, and serve hot.
2 cups of Indian meal 3 pints of cold water.
Put the water on, and when it boils add salt. Then add the Indian meal, little by little, stirring all the time. Allow it to boil over a moderate fire for one-half hour, stirring constantly. When the meal has become quite stiff, take a wooden spoon and dip it into hot water, and with it detach the Indian meal from the side of the saucepan, then hold the saucepan for a moment over the hottest part of the fire, until the Indian meal has become detached from the bottom. Then turn it out onto the bread-board; it should come out whole in a mold. Let it stand a few moments to cool. Then with a wire cut it into slices about the thickness of a finger. Place these slices on a hot platter in a layer; pour over them a good meat gravy and grated cheese; then put on another layer of the polenta, and add more gravy and cheese, and so on, until your polenta is used up.
Prepare the Indian meal as in the preceding receipt.
Take four Deerfoot sausages (or two, if a larger variety of sausage), remove the skins, chop fine, then fry in butter. When they are a nice brown add one tablespoon of stock, and two tablespoons of tomato paste thinned with hot water (or a corresponding amount of the tomato sauce).
Cook for fifteen minutes more. Then cut the polenta in slices as in preceding receipt and add the chopped sausages with their sauce and grated cheese, in layers as before.
Take a small chicken; clean and prepare it. Take a slice of ham fat four fingers wide and one finger long (or one tablespoon of good lard). Chop up very fine with a chopping knife, and put into a good-sized saucepan. Take one-half an onion, a small carrot, a piece of celery, and cut all into very small pieces and add them all to the fat. Then put in the chicken, the salt, pepper, and a pinch of allspice, and cover the saucepan. Cook until the chicken is covered, basting with the grease, and turning the chicken until it is brown on all sides; then add one-third of a glass of red or white wine. When the wine has become absorbed, add one tablespoon of the tomato paste, dissolved in a cup of hot water (or a cup of tomato sauce not too thick). Cook for a few moments moreó until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Prepare the Indian meal as in receipt for Indian meal, and serve the chicken surrounded by the Indian meal, with the sauce poured over all and grated cheese sprinkled over the Indian meal.
Pigeon may be prepared in the same way as the chicken and served with the Indian meal; or either one may be served instead of the Indian meal with rice, as in receipt for Risotto alla Nostrale; Macaroni, as in receipt for Macaroni with Butter, or Ribbon Macaroni, as in receipt given.