1900 U.S. 41 N., Naples, FL
When we asked our readers last month what Italian dish was their favorite and what restaurant could they find it in, we received a lot of replies about the “best Italian restaurant.”
Some readers offered their Italian favorites and where they could be sleuthed out, however, and ViVi’s, Coastland Center, 1900 U.S. 41 N., Naples, 434-9923, scored on counts such as “an antipasto of ahi tuna to die for....a delicate balance of sushi-grade tuna, mascarpone, avocado and caviar,” wrote reader Joseph D. Cipriani, M.D.
ViVi executive chef Roland Petithomme offered to show another mainstay of the restaurant: a creamy, fontina-based polenta that will star in any meal.
Petithomme helped open the restaurant one year ago, and his cooking is probably one of the reasons the restaurant is so popular with Neapolitans. Petithomme has been cooking his whole life and says he was encouraged to become a chef by his mother.
“Her cooking is great, but not quite as good as mine,” Petithomme said.
He obviously loves all kinds of dishes.
“I am going to demonstrate my popular antipasto platter that has polenta topped with sautéed shrimp, asparagus and prosciutto, “ he said, “but my favorite dish to prepare is a veal chop stuffed with fontina cheese, prosciutto and spinach.”
¾ gallon of whole milk
1/8 pound fontina cheese
2 ounces fresh basil, whole sprigs
2 ounces fresh rosemary, whole springs
3 bay leaves
1 pound polenta
-- Place milk, cheese, basil, rosemary and bay leaves in a large pot on the stove and bring to boil.
-- Take the pot off the stove and strain the milk into a large boil.
-- Pour the milk back into the pot and discard the herbs.
-- Slowly mix in the polenta into the milk.
-- Continue stirring the mixture until it is thick.
-- Take off the stove and pour the mixture into a large pan and let cool.
-- When it is cool cut into portions in a triangular shape and roll each piece in Italian bread crumbs.
-- Fry the pieces in extra virgin olive oil approximately two minutes to get crisp and hot.
-- Plate with shrimp, asparagus and prosciutto and top with Alfredo sauce.
1 teaspoon shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
-- Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan on the stove on medium heat.
-- Stir constantly until the mixture thickens.
-- Pour over the polenta and around the plate.
Sheila Mesulam, email@example.com Connect with Sheila Mesulam at www.naplesnews.com/staff/sheila_mesulam