PARTNER POST — Grilling season is here and it is time to explore Italian grilling with authentic ingredients from Colavita.
A rustic Italian meal of artichokes that give a delicious earthy, smokey flavor and grilled polenta drizzled with pesto and sprinkled with capers and basil.
This rustic, family style Italian meal is a feast for the senses. Fresh artichokes are blanched, then grilled to perfection giving them a delicious earthy, smokey char. Polenta is grilled and cherry tomatoes are blistered. Drizzled with pesto, sprinkled with capers and strewn with basil leaves, this meal can be kept vegan and gluten free…or for extra richness, add dollops of Burrata cheese. Serve this on casual summer evenings, family style, on a large cutting board or plater, and place right smack in the middle of the table allowing everyone to serve themselves. Or, for a more upscale affair, plate individually -stacking and layering the polenta. This is summer grilling, Italian Style!
This recipe was inspired by Colavita, a gourmet Italian food company founded in Southern Italy, in a small village called Sant’Elia a Pianisi.
Originally, there were two families in the village. One family produced olive oil from the local olives and the other family made fresh pasta for the village. The two families with the same name, Colavita, eventually became one company and today create a variety of gourmet ingredients for Italian cooking.
For years, I have been using their olive oil, so when a few boxes filled with all their products arrived, I was already familiar with the brand, but had no idea they offered so many great gourmet ingredients besides olive oil.
This dish starts off by making a firm polenta out of cornmeal which will be chilled so it sets up. I usually make the polenta and blanch the artichokes the day before. Then when ready to serve, all there is to do is fire up the grill!
I can’t say enough about this particular polenta. I’ve made a lot of polenta in my life, in catering and in my restaurant days… and have the polenta scars to prove it. This, by far is the best and easiest I’ve worked with. It’s a finer grain, doesn’t clump and cooks in 5 minutes flat! It has great texture and holds up well on the grill. I’m kind of obsessed with it at the moment.
- 1 cup Colavita's Instant Polenta Cornmeal
- 3 ½ cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or basil
- 2 tablespoons Colavita's Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 large artichokes
- 2 T Colavita's Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 T Colavita's White Balsamic Vinegar
- generous pinch salt and pepper
- 1 lb cherry tomatoes
- 2 tsp Colavita's Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons Colavita's Pesto Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Colavita's Capers
- ½ C burrata cheese ( or goat cheese) optional
- few basil leaves
- An easy way to do this is to prepare the polenta and blanch the artichokes a day ahead. Then before serving just, fire up the grill, and its done in 15 minutes!
- To blanch artichokes- place artichokes in a pot full of water, with 1 T salt and juice on one lemon ( leave the lemon halves in the water). Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 45 minutes. Drain and chill. Once chilled, slice in half, scoop our fuzzy thistles with a spoon, and cut in half again. You will have 8 quarters. Drizzle with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, gently toss to coat.
- To make polenta- Bring 3 ½ Cups water to a boil in a medium pot. Add salt, pepper, granulated garlic. Gradually add polenta, whisking constantly. Turn heat to low, cover and cook until done. If using Coavita brands instant version, this will take 5 minutes. If using a noon instant brand, this may take 20 minutes, so read the directions on the box. Once polenta has cooked and thickened, whisk in olive oil and fresh sage ( or basil). Spread on a greased baking dish, smoothing out with a flat bottom metal spatula, coated in olive oil, to ¾ inch thickness. Refrigerate, until firm and chilled over night or for at least two hours. Cut into squares, triangles or rounds.
- Toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil and salt.
- Pre heat grill to medium high.
- Grill polenta, until grill marks appear, closing lid. Flip over and grill the other side. Place on a platter. Grill artichokes on all sides, until slightly charred and heated through. Place around polenta. Char the cherry tomatoes until thy blister slightly. Arrange them around polenta and artichokes. Drizzle with pesto, scattter capers and basil leaves around the top. Add dollops of burratta cheeese ( or goat cheese) for extra richness. Enjoy!