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.
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![/donotprint]
Polenta Pizza with Spinach, Mushrooms, Bacon & Tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for pan
- ½ cup (122 ml) whole milk
- 2½ cups (625 ml) water
- 1 cup (159 g) coarse cornmeal
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 5 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
- 10 ounces (283.5 g) cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 2 cups (60 g) baby spinach
- 1 roma tomato, sliced
- 1 cup (132 g) shredded fontina cheese
- 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.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
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This is awesome! I used your polenta crust as the basis for this:
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can you describe how the cornmeal crust tastes? And how’s the texture…is it sturdy??
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!
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?
I think mozzarella would be great! Enjoy the pizza and congratulations!
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?
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.
I would like to make this as an appetizer this weekend, but will have to travel an hour with it… Any suggestions?
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.
Ok, what went wrong, my polenta turned out like mash instead of a thick spongy consistency
You have a beautiful blog! I love it.
This looks great can’t wait to try it, really love your recipes!
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!!
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!
Amazing! I’ve never thought of using polenta this way! Have got to try this one!
WOW. The photos are amazing. So bright and colorful. Who wouldn’t want to just eat every single piece?!
Beautiful! Great idea using polenta!
This looks so good! I love the idea of using the polenta as the crust.
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!
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.
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.
I have made polenta lasagna before and loved it – your recipe looks great – I can’t wait to try it!
This looks awesome. Must taste great. I will try this soon.
Great idea! I have been meaning to make polenta again; this sounds awesome. And it’s so pretty!
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!
Looks great! What a great idea!
Looks fabulous. Great idea!
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!
OMG…great idea! I’m bookmarking this one!
This looks incredibly delicious. I love all the colors. The photo could seriously be used as a piece of artwork.
I love this idea! It looks delicious and is very pleasing to the eye as well.
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
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!
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!
wow this is awesome what a great idea love love it
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.