FRIED POLENTA CUBES SERVED ON HOT ARTICHOKES AND SPRINKLED WITH PISTACHIO NUTS or CUBI DI POLENTA FRITTA CON CARCIOFI PICCANTI E PISTACCHI

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It is up to you to decide this: is it unetical of me as the organizer of the Paper Chef to participate in the event or am I allowed to do it? I’m not judging the event after all, just seeing to that it is up and running every month. Anyway, I really enjoy Paper Chef so much that whatever you decide, I’m going to participate within the event or outside it, I just can’t resist! But this month I am just going to mock-participate as I was the one who drew the ingredients, it wouldn’t be fair if I did enter! The ingredients polenta, chili pepper, pistachio nuts and the flower theme really set my brain racing, last month’s four were far to easy to really inspire me but this month I bet that we will find a much wider variety of entries. If there will be any, maybe it’s only me who likes semingly strange combinations, well we will see on Wednesday when I hope to be able to post the roundup. If you want to participate, there’s still time until tomorrow noon, read here for more information!

The flower theme can be interpreted in many ways but I choose the vegetable one and then artichoke which is a flower. After that, it was plain sailing. I served this as a starter to my lunch guests yesterday and they were very happy to eat it if I may brag a little.

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FRIED POLENTA CUBES SERVED ON HOT ARTICHOKES AND SPRINKLED WITH PISTACHIO NUTS or CUBI DI POLENTA FRITTA CON CARCIOFI PICCANTI E PISTACCHI
4 servings

100 g/3.5 oz polenta flour
400 ml/1.7 cup water
4 artichokes
150-200 ml/0.63-0.85 cup tomato sauce
1 small chilipepper
2-3 tblsp chopped pistachio nuts
Lemon juice
Salt
Extra-virgin olive oil

– Cook the polenta: Pour the water into a pan, add a scarce tsp salt and stir in the polenta flour into the cold water, in this way you avoid lumps. Stir all the time, right from the beginning until it boils and then you go on stirring and cooking for at least 40 minutes.
– Pour the polenta onto a flat surface, I use a rectangular cake tin but a cutting board is OK too. Flatten it out and leave it to cool down completely before cutting it into cubes. It’s even better the day after actually in case you want to prepare it in advance.
– Clean the artichokes and then slice them into thin wedges.
– Heat up the olive oil with chopped or crumbled chili pepper, add the artichoke, squeeze a little lemon juice over it all and start braising.
– After a couple of minutes, you add enough water to almost cover the artichokes and go on cooking until it has dried up. By now the artichokes should be soft.
– Add the tomato sauce and cook on for 2-3 minutes.
– Serve with the polenta cubes on top of the artichokes, drizzle the sauce over and sprinkle pistachio nuts over it.

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