Polenta Pizza

polenta-pizza-appetizer-2

You may remember that a couple of weeks back my polenta pizza was featured on In Jennie’s Kitchen as a guest post. As I wrote in that post, the first time I made this dish I made it as a thin-crust pizza (the polenta serving as the crust) for dinner and it was absolutely fabulous. So good, in fact, that a few days later I decided to scrap the original appetizer I had planned to serve alongside the Fontina-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Dates and turn the polenta pizza into an appetizer. The only real change I made to the original recipe to turn it into an appetizer was to double the quantities and bake it in the same size dish (11×15) so that the “crust” was thicker and more substantial, which made it easier to pick up and eat. I think I could have served nothing else other than an unlimited supply of the dates and this polenta pizza, and no one may have noticed that a meal hadn’t been served. This was another huge hit, which may actually be an understatement.

polenta-pizza-appetizer

The best part of this recipe is that you can completely adapt it to your taste or to complement the rest of the food that you’re serving. Pile on your favorite toppings, add a thin layer of pizza or marinara sauce, use fresh basil, tomatoes and mozzarella for a caprese-style pizza – the possibilities are absolutely endless. Eat it as a main dish or cut into smaller servings for an appetizer. Enjoy!

I have really been enjoying experimenting with polenta in new and different ways, like with the Vanilla and Brown Sugar Breakfast Polenta. Do you have a favorite polenta recipe? Please share!

Polenta Pizza with Spinach, Mushrooms, Bacon & Tomatoes

Yield: Makes 4 generous main dishes or 36 appetizer servings

Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for pan
½ cup whole milk
2½ cups water
Salt
1 cup coarse cornmeal
Freshly ground black pepper
5 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 cups baby spinach
1 roma tomato, sliced
1 cup shredded fontina cheese

Directions:

1. Brush a layer of olive oil on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine milk, water and a large pinch of salt. Bring just about to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and add cornmeal in a steady stream, whisking all the while to prevent lumps from forming. Turn heat to low and simmer, whisking frequently, until thick, 10 or 15 minutes. If mixture becomes too thick, whisk in a bit more water; you want a consistency approaching thick oatmeal.

2. Stir 1 tablespoon oil into cooked cornmeal (polenta). Spoon it onto prepared pan, working quickly so polenta does not stiffen; spread it evenly to a thickness of about ½ inch all over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover baking sheet with plastic wrap and put it in refrigerator until it is firm, an hour or more (you can refrigerate polenta overnight if you prefer).

3. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Put polenta in oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it begins to brown and crisp on edges. Meanwhile, put one tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have released all of their moisture, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to take the mushrooms out of pan; set aside. Add spinach to skillet and sauté until it releases its water and pan becomes dry; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Take polenta out of oven, sprinkle with fontina cheese, then spread spinach evenly on top of cheese and top with mushrooms, bacon and sliced tomato. Put pizza back in oven for two minutes, or until cheese begins to melt and the toppings are warmed through. Cut into slices and serve hot or at room temperature. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.

(Recipe adapted from The New York Times)

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60 Responses to “Polenta Pizza”

Comment Pages 1 2
  1. Melissa on September 11, 2009 at 8:48 am

    I made this polenta lasagna that was soooo good! http://cheesewineandchocolate.blogspot.com/2009/08/polenta-lasagna-its-so-good.html Please excuse the bad pics. Now I’m going to make polenta pizza! What a great idea. I heart polenta.

    Reply

  2. Meghan on September 11, 2009 at 9:41 am

    This is such a beautiful, vibrant pizza! I would love to try a polenta pizza. I just recently made my first recipe with polenta, so I’ve got a lot on hand. I really like this combination of toppings too!

    Reply

  3. Carrie on September 11, 2009 at 9:54 am

    What a great idea! I love the idea of adding a thin layer of pizza sauce, too. I’ll definitely have to give this a try.

    Reply

  4. bridget {bake at 350} on September 11, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Oh, this is brilliant! I love polenta, but my hubby & son don’t. I’m thinking with a PIZZA, they’d never know! Yep, I’m going to be sneaky and give this a try with them.

    Beautiful pics as always!

    Reply

  5. stephchows on September 11, 2009 at 11:18 am

    oh yum! That sounds perfect as an appetizer :) I don’t have a favorite recipe… i still have not made polenta! I need to get on that!

    Reply

  6. Cookin' Canuck on September 11, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I love this idea! I’m definitely going to try this as a variation on our weekly pizza night. Bacon and mushrooms would be a wonderful combination. I might add a little Gorgonzola to that.

    Reply

  7. rebecca subbiah on September 11, 2009 at 11:38 am

    wow this is awesome what a great idea love love it

    Reply

  8. Ann on September 11, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Oh my – this is amazing. I’m already head over heels for those bacon wrapped dates. I second that – there is no need to serve any more food if these two feature on the menu!

    Reply

  9. Mary Ann on September 11, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    This looks great and so adaptable! Too bad no one else in my family is fond of polenta/cornmeal. Maybe I will just have to throw a party so I can try it out!

    Reply

  10. Ariana from Chicago on September 11, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    This looks fantastic. I need to try polenta recipes more often. This has me thinking about the “panelle” I just tried making last night. Have you ever had them? They are a sicilian thing, it’s garbanzo bean flour cooked on the stove, cooled, then fried in squares. That might be a great base for a pizza too! Thanks

    Reply

  11. Shauna on September 11, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    I love this idea! It looks delicious and is very pleasing to the eye as well.

    Reply

  12. Gala on September 12, 2009 at 10:27 am

    great idea!!!

    Reply

  13. Eliana on September 12, 2009 at 11:04 am

    This looks incredibly delicious. I love all the colors. The photo could seriously be used as a piece of artwork.

    Reply

  14. Pam on September 12, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    OMG…great idea! I’m bookmarking this one!

    Thank you!

    Reply

  15. Marcia on September 13, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    My favorite way to make polenta is to prepare it with a more softer consistency, maybe add 2 cups or water rather than 2 1/2. Then turn it into a greased 9×13 baking dish and top it off with a mixture of hot sausage (cut in bite size pieces), green peppers, onions and tomato sauce ( you know, what is in hot sausage sandwiches?) This hot sausage mixture is already cooked and ready to go;and bake for 30 to 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Real Italian comfort food!

    Reply

  16. sherri on September 14, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Looks fabulous. Great idea!

    Reply

  17. Katie on September 14, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Looks great! What a great idea!

    Reply

  18. Jelli Bean on September 15, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    While living in Switzerland last year, I was served polenta pizza nearly every week. Sadly, it wasn’t topped with bacon, mushrooms, etc. I love this stuff!

    Reply

  19. Andrea@WellnessNotes on September 15, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Great idea! I have been meaning to make polenta again; this sounds awesome. And it’s so pretty!

    Reply

  20. veggielover on September 15, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    This looks awesome. Must taste great. I will try this soon.

    Reply

  21. Tracie @hollafoodzone on September 16, 2009 at 12:21 am

    I have made polenta lasagna before and loved it – your recipe looks great – I can’t wait to try it!

    Reply

  22. Divina on September 16, 2009 at 2:40 am

    That looks awesome. I’ve always wanted to make these but didn’t have the time for it yet but now you inspired me to make it sooner. You have my favorite ingredients there. The mushrooms, spinach, and of course the fontina cheese and bacon. Who could resists that? I think no one. Thanks.

    Reply

  23. Mathilde's Cuisine on September 16, 2009 at 7:09 am

    A very creative idea to make a pizza and the nice thing with polenta is that you can find it with many flavours (I have some mushroom polenta at home) that you can combine with a lot of vegetables.

    Reply

  24. Alta on September 16, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Wow, so delicious-looking! I love polenta, and have made polenta lasagna before. Making it into pizza provides me a wonderful, simple, gluten-free dinner, without having to use my pricy gluten-free flours. Will definitely bookmark!

    Reply

  25. Alejandra on September 16, 2009 at 10:37 am

    This looks so good! I love the idea of using the polenta as the crust.

    Reply

  26. Pigpigscorner on September 17, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Beautiful! Great idea using polenta!

    Reply

  27. wasabi prime on September 17, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    WOW. The photos are amazing. So bright and colorful. Who wouldn’t want to just eat every single piece?!

    Reply

  28. theUngourmet on September 18, 2009 at 12:15 am

    Amazing! I’ve never thought of using polenta this way! Have got to try this one!

    Reply

  29. Rhandi on September 22, 2009 at 2:20 am

    Um, can I just say fabulous idea! I am going to make my own version of polenta pizza and post it on my food blog, I will make sure I let everyone know where I got the idea. I am Excited to try your delights!

    Reply

  30. Alina on September 23, 2009 at 5:24 am

    Aww I love ceverything with cornmeal – even the cheerful, bright look of it – and your polenta pizza idea is simply brilliant! Saving it to my Favourites!!

    Reply

  31. pegasuslegend on September 27, 2009 at 8:12 am

    This looks great can’t wait to try it, really love your recipes!

    Reply

  32. Erica on October 3, 2009 at 9:13 am

    You have a beautiful blog! I love it.

    Reply

  33. DR on October 5, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    great idea!!!

    Reply

  34. Sharon on October 18, 2009 at 12:08 am

    Ok, what went wrong, my polenta turned out like mash instead of a thick spongy consistency

    Reply

  35. Michelle on October 20, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Sharon,

    The polenta will turn out like mash when it is first prepared, but once you spread it in a pan and refrigerate it (and then bake it) it will be the thick spongy consistency that you see in the picture.

    Reply

  36. Jessica on November 12, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    I would like to make this as an appetizer this weekend, but will have to travel an hour with it… Any suggestions?

    Reply

  37. Michelle on November 12, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    Hi Jessica,

    You can make it ahead of time and transport it in the pan. If you have the ability to reheat it once you get to the party that would be ideal (and add the toppings then), but if not, just cover it with foil tightly before leaving so it stays somewhat warm.

    Reply

  38. Laura on December 14, 2009 at 10:16 am

    I am planning to make this polenta pizza this weekend for my graduation party.. it looks amazing and its gluten free! Do you think moz cheese would be okay for the cheese?

    Reply

  39. Michelle on December 17, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Hi Laura,

    I think mozzarella would be great! Enjoy the pizza and congratulations!

    Reply

  40. Jessica on December 23, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I made this last month! It was delicious, but the polenta was very thin and stuck to the pan a little. What size pan did you use?

    Reply

  41. Michelle on January 3, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Hi Jessica,

    As mentioned in the post, I used an 11×15 pan but doubled the ingredients for the appetizer you see pictured. For the regular “pizza” I used the recipe as written in the same size pan and mine was thin as well, which I actually liked for a pizza. You could also use a smaller pan for a thicker result. Hope this helps and you enjoy the recipe!

    Reply

  42. Katherine on May 16, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    can you describe how the cornmeal crust tastes? And how’s the texture…is it sturdy??

    Reply

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  45. Erin Block on January 21, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    This is awesome! I used your polenta crust as the basis for this:
    http://mysteriesinternal.blogspot.com/2011/01/pin-up-pizza.html

    Delicious!

    Reply

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