Saturday, March 23, 2013

labor-intensive-but-totally-worth-it polenta pizza

warning: this is not a weeknight kind of pizza. this is a "lazy sunday afternoon and i have some time to kill and some laundry to do and some reruns of parenthood to watch" kind of pizza. this is a "i'm having friends over and want to impress them with how creative and unconventional i can be in the kitchen but i'm also afraid to take too too much of a risk" kind of pizza. this is the kind of pizza that people ooo and aaah at, if only because it never occurred to them before that you could make a pizza dough out a polenta. (and have it taste good!). this is a pizza you should make time for next weekend. neglect your laundry all week, clear an afternoon, and get ready to experience a whole new kind of pizza (crust). 

you'll need about 3 hours altogether to make this pizza, but it's not like slaving over a risotto for 3 hours. here are the steps: 

1. make the polenta. 
2. refrigerate the polenta. 
3. bake the polenta. 
4. add pizza toppings and bake some more. 

the crust comes out deliciously herby and crunchy, and depending on how thick or thin you like your crust, you can save some of the leftover polenta and make this incredible polenta casserole later in the week.  

polenta pizza
from terry walter’s clean start

for the crust:
3 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
11/4 cups polenta

for the topping:
1-2 cups tomato sauce (fresh or canned)
2 zucchinis, sliced
1 red pepper, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
1 bunch kale, washed and cut into thin strips
1 cup shredded cheese (your choice!)

start by making the crust. over high heat, bring stock to boil. reduce heat to medium and add salt, basil, oregano, parsley, pepper and olive oil. whisking continuously, pour in polenta and continue whisking for 5 to 7 minutes until smooth and thick. pour into a 11 x 7 baking pan and spread evenly over bottom of each pan. you may have some polenta leftover, depending on how thick you like your curst. cool slightly and then refrigerate for 30 minutes.

preheat oven to 350°F and place baking sheet on middle rack. remove polenta from refrigerator, sprinkle pizza stone or baking sheet with cornmeal, transfer polenta to stone or baking sheet and bake 40 minutes. remove from oven and set aside.

prepare your toppings. sauté zucchinis and peppers in some olive oil for a few minutes. add in the kale. season with salt and pepper to taste.

assemble your pizza by spreading a thin layer of tomato sauce on top of the polenta, leaving a 1/2 inch edge. spread the vegetables across evenly. top with cheese.

bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melty. let cool 5 minutes, then slice and dig in.