Last week as I was putting together my family’s meal plan, an intriguing idea popped into my head: polenta pizza. We all love pizza, I thought, why not mix it up with a change from the same old whole wheat dough I usually make? I thought I was brilliant for a minute, until I googled it and found out 1,060,000 people had the same brilliant thought. Oh, well. I wasn’t going to let my unoriginality stop me from trying something that was new to me.
Polenta pizza is a fun dinner. We’ve had one two weeks in a row now and the pizzas looked nothing alike. The topping options, just like regular pizza, are endless. Last week we used turkey bacon, spinach, mushrooms, and bleu cheese. Last night it was garlic, broccoli, sun dried tomatoes, and goat cheese. Tim liked last week’s version better and I liked this week’s version better. Guess which recipe you are getting? The one I like better, of course.
Polenta Pizza with Garlic, Broccoli, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
For the polenta
3 cups water
1 cup corn meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the pan
for the toppings
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 small heads of broccoli, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons julienne-cut sun dried tomatoes (I used the packed-in-oil kind)
1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend (if you don’t have one use a combination of whatever Italian spices you have on hand)
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
Lightly brush a pizza pan or baking sheet with olive oil. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Slowly add the corn meal, whisking the whole time. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking frequently, until the polenta pulls away from the edge of your pot and you have a thick consistency. This should take about 5 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper, and oil.
Using a spoon or rubber spatula, transfer the polenta onto the pizza pan. Use the spatula (or spoon) to spread the polenta out thinly and evenly on the pan. After it cools a bit, use your hands to spread it all the way to the edges. This will take a few minutes and it may seem like the polenta isn’t going to spread. Just keep pressing it with your hands and it will spread out. Take care to spread it out evenly so you don’t have any overly thick places or holes in your polenta.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. I allowed this time to let the polenta sit and firm up a bit. This is a great time to chop your broccoli.
Put the polenta in the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly brown.
While the polenta is cooking, prepare your toppings. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet (you’ll need one with a lid) over medium heat. Add the garlic and allow it to cook for about a minute. Add the broccoli and stir it around with the garlic. Saute the broccoli for about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water, cover, and allow the broccoli to steam another 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sun dried tomatoes and seasoning and stir well. Reduce the heat to medium low or low, return the cover, and continue to cook until the polenta is ready, stirring frequently.
This recipe makes for a thin polenta crust. While you can pick it up like a traditional pizza, all the toppings we added made it difficult so we ate ours with a fork and knife. I love it because it isn’t heavy like regular pizza. We polished off this entire pizza along with a massaged kale salad and didn’t feel over stuffed at all.
Meghan ate hers deconstructed, of course. She called the polenta pieces I cut up for her “crackers”. She ate a lot of her “broccoli trees”, too, but she prefers cauliflower these days. Speaking of cauliflower, I did a guest post over on Valerie Plowman’s great parenting blog, Chronicles of a Babywise Mom last week. I included a fun recipe for cauliflower cheese nuggets, so go check it out!