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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Recipe! Polenta Pizza AND Bonus! Pizza Sauce recipe.

When I saw a recipe floating around for polenta pizza, I knew exactly two things for certain;

1) It would be amazing.

2) I needed to make it as soon as possible.

Thus, my Friday night consisted of watching The Ghost Writer and cooking up some delicious polenta pizza. And oh, it was delicious. The texture is wonderful, the flavor is wonderful, it can be customized any way you like...and it's a fabulous comfort food. You can make large batches to feed a crowd or small batches to feed a few, you can add or subtract ingredients, adjust cooking times and make it deep dish or thin(ner) crust. I had one taste tester and movie-watching companion, and though she complained a little about the fact that we didn't eat until 10 pm (this wasn't terribly well-planned), she also agreed that it was well worth the wait.

Polenta pizza is easy to make, but it does require time to wait. I would say that you should either prepare your polenta the night before, or make sure you start cooking two or three hours ahead of time. This is because the polenta must set in the refrigerator until completely cool, which takes at least an hour. Use whatever toppings and sauce your heart desires, but if you want a red sauce, I've included a great recipe that is simple and can be made while the polenta cools. Enjoy this as a fun meal or dress it up with fancy cheeses...it's just as versatile as any pizza! And if you made the polenta crust without the savory seasonings and cheese, you could even make a dessert pizza with fresh fruit and whipped cream.

Now that you're drooling uncontrollably, allow me to present;

Polenta Pizza

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup whole milk
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup polenta (course cornmeal)
1 t garlic powder
1/2 cup shredded natural parmesan
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pizza sauce (see recipe below!!)
Italian cheese
Italian sausage
Green Pepper
Red onion
Mushrooms

1. Oil pizza pan or cookie sheet with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Combine milk and water with a teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan, and bring just to a boil before reducing heat to medium. Stir in cornmeal in a steady stream, whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Turn heat to low, simmer for 10 or 15 minutes while whisking frequently. Whisk in water if it becomes too thick.

2. Whisk in 1 T olive oil and shredded parmesan cheese as well as a 1/2 t black pepper and garlic powder. Immediately spread onto cookie sheet about 1/2 inch thick and even. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to cool. During the last 15 minutes or so of the cooling process, preheat oven to 450 degrees.

3. When polenta is firm and cool (you can leave it overnight if you wish!) remove wrap and place in the 450 degree oven and bake for 25 or 30 minutes. Polenta should begin to brown, edges should be crispy. While crust cooks, chop red onion, green pepper, and mushroom. Brown sausage, when it is just beginning to brown add onion and saute together until meat is brown and onions are softening. Then add green pepper. Add mushrooms about a minute or two before you finish the toppings. (Of course, you can use any toppings you like!!)

4. Remove polenta crust from oven, spread on pizza sauce and then layer toppings on. Cook until cheese is bubbly and toppings are warm. Allow pizza to sit for a few minutes, then dig in!!!

Pizza Sauce

1 small can tomato paste
1 regular can diced tomatoes
1 T italian seasonings
1 t garlic powder
Pinch of sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t parsley

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, mix well. Allow to simmer at least 1/2 hour on low heat. Add any seasonings that you like!

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