since the new year, i've been trying to incorporate various grains more into my diet with the aim of becoming less reliant on wheat and processed flour. so much of my previous diet consisted of wheat products, it was rather shocking when i actually stopped to take note of how much wheat i consumed in a week! and while i do not have celiacs, i know that my body prefers a more varied diet. not necessarily wheat-free or gluten free. it just craves more variety of grains (i.e. more variety in nutrients as well)! not only does this provide me with a fun challenge to use up all the random bulk goods that have collected in my cupboards, but it also inspires me to be more creative and experimental with my cooking and baking! especially when as someone who prefers all things home-made! so for example, purchasing a highly processed gluten-free pizza crust would not suffice. rather, i drew inspiration from a delicious savory veggie tart baked in a polenta crust i had at the phinney market pub & eatery... and ta-da! polenta pizza. genius.
from the beginning - home-made pizza sauce!
1 can (14oz) crushed tomatoes (i used fire roasted, unsalted)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 cloves roasted garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
*for smoother sauce, combing all ingredients in a blender before simmering. otherwise, if you like chunky sauce combine in a saucepan and simmer for 20-30 minutes. let sit for an hour or more off of the heat to combine flavors (great also to do a day in advance). note: you will have left over sauce, which you might enjoy having to dip bits of crust into.
1 cup course corn meal, polenta
2 3/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup grated asiago or parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
boil water with salt, reduce to simmer as you slowly add the corn meal to the pot. stir constantly for about 30 seconds. cover with lid and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every minute or so to keep the bottom from burning. remove from heat and stir in the egg, cheese and chili/pepper. let sit off of the heat, covered for another 10 minutes. then, grease a pie or tart pan with olive oil and pour the polenta into the pan. spread evenly with the back of a spoon and use your fingers to form a crust. *use a bowl of cold water to keep your fingers or spoon moist so that the polenta doesn't stick to you/spoon. bake in over at 375 for 15 minutes. this crust can be stored a day or so before using, or throw in your pizza toppings immediately and pop it back into the oven!
to assemble your polenta pizza, simply spoon a cup of pizza sauce onto the pre-cooked crust. the sauce should be a thin layer, otherwise the polenta will become too soft and crumble when served. top with any of your favorite pizza toppings. i might suggest, cured olives, pickled peppers, smoked mozzarella, asiago, roasted garlic and mushrooms. bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is nicely melted and the crust looks crisp. serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a spoonful of ricotta cheese and a sprinkling of oregano and chili flakes.