polenta pizza

 Pizza need not be off-limits if you are living a gluten-free lifestyle. There are many gluten-free pizza crusts available today that are perfect for quick weekday meals, but I enjoy making pizza crusts from polenta, as I like the texture and flavor that it contributes. There’s no need to wait for the crust to rise, as with yeast-risen wheat-flour bases, and it is a surprising dish to serve to company or at a small party. The crust will not be firm enough to pick up, but, enjoyed with a fork, it has the same satisfaction of wheat-flour pizza.

Makes 4 servings for entrees; makes 8 – 10 appetizer servings, or make two pizzas for serving at a party

Ingredients:

Polenta Pizza Crust:

Gluten-free medium-grind cornmeal (I like Bob’s Red Mill), 11/3 cups (7 oz/220 g)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil, 11/2 tablespoons, plus more as needed

For the Polenta Pizza Toppings:

Fresh mozzarella cheese, 1/2 lb (250 g) coarsely grated
Small cherry tomatoes or grapetomatoes, 11/3 cups (8 oz/250 g), halved
Shallot, 2 tablespoons minced,or 2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil, 11/2 tablespoons, plus more as needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup (11/2 oz/45 g) freshly grated
Fresh basil, 1/4 cup (1/3 oz/10 g) sliced, or 3 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram

Directions: 

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, mix 4 cups (32 fl oz/1 l) water, the cornmeal, and 1 ¾ teaspoons salt. Place in the microwave and cook at the high setting for?5 minutes. Stir thoroughly, then return to the microwave and cook at the high setting for 5 more minutes. Stir well. Return to the microwave and cook at the high setting until very thick, about 5 minutes longer. Stir again, and then mix in the 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil and a generous amount of pepper.
  2. Brush a large pizza pan generously with olive oil. (Do not line the pan with parchment, or the crust will not gain the desired texture.) Spread the cornmeal mixture out on the pan in a circle about 1/3  inch (9 mm) thick and about 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter, building up the edges slightly.
  3. To bake, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Spread tomato sauce, if using, over the cornmeal crust, leaving a border, then layer on the desired toppings. Bake the pizza until it is beginning to brown in spots, about 20 minutes. Let stand for?5 minutes to set up.
  4. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the pizza crust on the pizza pan, leaving a border.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the tomatoes, shallot, 1½ tablespoons oil, and the vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the tomato mixture over the cheese. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake the pizza until it is beginning to brown in spots, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes to set up. Sprinkle with the herbs and serve right away with forks and knives for eating.

Recipe from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Gluten Free by Kristine Kidd (Weldon Owen, April 2013)

Image: Kate Sears