PARTNER POST — Grilling season is here and it is time to explore Italian grilling with authentic ingredients from Colavita.
A full Italian menu thrown on the grill complete with a grilled bread starter, charred pepper pasta, and calamari steaks served over crispy polenta cake.
I am so ready for summer barbecuing! And you will be too, when you see the amazing Italian menu that I put together for you. A beautiful, colorful, summer table, filled with wholesome, grilled handcraft goodness. A menu that will impress your friends, and make them think you spent your whole day around the grill to pull off such an amazing combination of ingredients and flavors. But when you look at these recipes, you will see how quick and easy they are.
I made these recipes using many Colavita ingredients. From great quality extra virgin olive oil, to a large selection of tasty balsamic vinegars and from pasta and rice to polenta and bread flour they have all of your Italian ingredients.
As the appetizer, I prepared a perfectly crispy-on-the-outside, grilled bruschetta topped with Colavita pesto sauce, cherry tomatoes and grilled zucchini. All drizzled with Colavita garlic infused olive oil.
The secret to an amazing bruschetta is in the ingredients. You really need high quality olive oil, flavorful tomatoes, and delicious bread with a crunchy crust and soft interior (like a French, Italian or Pugliese loaf). And the thick bread slices need to be brushed with garlicky olive oil, and grilled to perfection: just enough so that only the outer part is crunchy and golden.
- 1 large zucchini
- 8 oz 225 gr of organic heirloom cherry tomatoes
- 4 teaspoons of Colavita pesto sauce
- 4 thick slices bread French or Italian loaf
- Colavita garlic infused olive oil
- 3-4 fresh basil leaves
- Cut the zucchini in slices (about 1/8-1/4 inch in thickness). Grill the zucchini on a griddle, grilling pan (or outdoor grill) drizzling with olive oil.
- In a bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes cut in half, the grilled zucchini cut in pieces, a tablespoon of olive oil, and the basil leaves cut in pieces. Salt to taste.
- Drizzle the slices of bread with the Colavita garlic infused olive oil, if you have it. Or you can use regular extra virgin olive oil and brush the slices with a garlic clove (cut in half).
- Grill both sides of the bread, as shown in the picture. Make sure the bread stays soft on the inside, and slightly crunchy only on the outside.
- Right before serving, spread a teaspoon of pesto sauce on each slice of toasted bread, and top with the tomatoes and zucchini. If possible, serve immediately when the bread is still warm!
The appetizer is followed by a healthy, quick and delicious pasta salad with colorful grilled peppers, savory capers and fruity green olives. This pasta is quite easy to make and, even better, you can prepare it ahead of time if you like. All you need to do is cook the pasta, grill the peppers, and toss all the ingredients together to make this incredible combination of Italian flavors.
- 8 oz 225 gr of organic mini peppers (about 6) red, orange and yellow
- 1/2 cup about 12-15 of chopped green olives
- 1 tablespoon of Colavita capers
- a couple of tablespoons of organic Colavita extra virgin olive oil
- 12 oz 340 gr of Colavita tricolor fusilli pasta
- 1 tablespoon of fresh Italian parsley chopped
- Wash the peppers, cut in half and remove the seeds if any. Drizzle with Colavita olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Place the peppers, skin side down, on a hot grilling pan (or grill), and cook until the skin blisters and burns a little. It should take about 3-4 minutes, but time can vary based on your grill.
- Wrap the peppers in aluminum foil, and keep them close for 10 minutes or so. This will help remove the skin more easily, and soften the peppers.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta when the water boils following the direction of the box.
- Peel the peppers and cut in pieces.
- In a large bowl combine the capers, chopped olives and peppers.
- When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain and run under cold water, to prevent from overcooking (unless you plan to eat the pasta right away!). Toss the pasta with the olives, peppers and capers. Drizzle with some more olive oil and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.
- You can serve immediately or at room temperature.
Grilling a calamari steak is super easy. A few minutes on each side, and the job is done. The polenta is just as easy too, but you need to prepare it ahead of time and let it cool down on a baking sheet. When cold, you cut the polenta in squares and grill. Remember not to try to flip it on the grill too soon. It will break and it will be messy. So make sure to wait until the dark grilling lines appear, and the polenta will easily peel off the grill.
For the polenta:
- 4 cups 16 fl oz, 475 ml of water
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of Colavita extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup of Colavita instant polenta cornmeal
For the calamari:
- 4 calamari steak squid, about 1.25 lb (560 gr)
- one bunch of fresh Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoons of Colavita extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of Colavita garlic infused olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of Colavita balsamic vinegar of Modena
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Bring 4 cups (475 ml) of water to a boil. Add one teaspoon of salt and one tablespoon of Colavita extra virgin olive oil.
- When the water starts to boil, slowly add 1 cup Colavita polenta flour, while whisking.
- Reduce the heat to medium and continue whisking for about 3 minutes or so, or until the polenta starts to thickens, and reaches the desired consistency.
- Pour the polenta on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. I used a XXXX . Level as much as you can. Let it cool off for one hour or more.
- Cut the polenta in squares and grill. Grill each side about 3-4 minutes over medium-high heat. Before turning the slice make sure there are dark marks on the side. If the polenta is sticking to the grill it means it's too early to flip. When the marks are there and the polenta is properly grilled and will easily peel off. Keep warm while you prepare the rest of the dish.
- In a bowl, place the parsley, the garlic infused olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Process quickly until well blended.
- When ready to eat, cut the calamari steak in half (if necessary and based on the size of the polenta squares), drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill the calamari steak, over medium-high heat, for about 3 minutes on each side.
- Place the grilled calamari over a slice of grilled polenta. Drizzle with the parsley sauce.
- Serve immediately!
Born and raised in Venice, Italy, Manuela now lives with her husband and two children in Los Angeles, California. In her blog, Cooking with Manuela, she strives to share her passion for Italian food. As a mom of two young boys, most of her dinner preparations are done while checking homework, quizzing for science tests, and looking for Lego pieces. Her step-by-step recipes help readers create delicious food while on a busy schedule. There is nothing as special as ending your day with your family or friends sharing a good conversation and a tasty homemade meal.