08.17.11_Polenta Pizza

Even before going vegetarian, I had added foodgawker to my RSS feed. I came across this post about polenta pizza and thought it would be a great idea for Caitlin since the recipe was vegan. Once we decided to drop meat for the month, I decided it would be a good idea to take the concept of the polenta crust and then top it however we wanted. I thought a margherita pizza would be easy enough so we decided to go for that.

I had never cooked polenta before so I was excited to try. Actually cooking the polenta was simple enough. Just add the box of polenta to a pot of boiling water and a few minutes later the polenta is nice and thick. Unfortunately this recipe for the pizza was much more difficult than it appeared on the blog that I found it on. She made it sound so easy: cook the polenta, spread it out, top it, and cook it. Sadly, it was quite the struggle to get the polenta to spread out. It was sticky and anytime I tried to smooth it out it would just stick to the spoon I was using. Finally I decided to spray nonstick cooking spray on the bottom of a measuring cup to help me flatten it out.  The blog post also didn't say how thick to make the crust so I had to eyeball it.
The pizza before going into the oven.
For the sauce I took a tomato that my mom had given me from her garden, diced it up and then mashed the tomatoes to make a "rustic" sauce to give a more homemade feel to some jarred sauce I already had. I also grated a clove of garlic into the sauce and seasoned it with oregano and S&P. After spreading the sauce out on top of the polenta, I added slices of fresh mozzarella, some basil leaves and sprinkled the whole pizza with Parmesan cheese.
The finished product.
We put the pizza in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. I was really nervous that the polenta was going to stick to the pizza pan but I had also sprayed that with nonstick cooking spray before hand and luckily it came off no problem. Our crust did not get very crispy unfortunately. I think the main problem was that I did not have a pizza stone like the recipe called for, which helps to make pizza crusts nice and crunchy. The flavors were still good and I still really like the concept of this dish. If I were to make it again without the pizza stone, I would consider baking the crust first before topping it to help it brown and get crispy.

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