Pizza is one of the things I miss most in my gluten-free life. As you may have noticed, I eat my fair share of pasta at home. But there’s really no decent substitute for pizza dough, and even the places in New York that offer GF options (like Keste and Pie by the Pound), don’t really hold a torch to the real thing.
I live dangerously close to Co., and it’s been the cause of a few of my more severe tumbles off the wagon. I’ve occasionally walked home with a whole pie under my arm and eaten it quickly in the privacy of my own home, shamefully. More shameful was the 3am discovery that Motorino delivered late night. And one seamless web click later, I was enjoying not just one late night pizza slice, but 6. If you think normal hangover tummy is bad, you can only imagine how I felt the next day.
I guess I’m lucky that my main vices include pizza. But it’s the kind of thing I’ve resolved not to do anymore in 2013, more in the name of ending this willful self-destruction than just plain old healthfulness. So I’ve taken matters into my own hands.
There’s a great “young in food” group that I’m a part of. Members meet every month or so to mingle and eat and talk shop. Earlier this fall, we hung out at Roberta’s. You won’t be surprised, given my epic willpower described above, that I couldn’t help but have one or two or three slices of pizza. The following month was beer and stout bread in Williamsburg, and this month, it’s a pizza party at someone’s apartment. For the love of auto-immune disorders…
This week’s event is BYO toppings, but I’m going to bring my own pie as well… See where I’m going with this? I got the idea for this polenta pizza from a friend who served Bittman’s version at her own pizza party years ago – before gluten-free was a fad or part of my life. Last week, I had some leftover mozzarella on hand from a grilled cheese recipe development project I was working on, and decided to give this polenta pie a trial run before it was bound for the discerning mouths of my fellow foodies.
I’m bordering on expert status when it comes to crispy polenta, so I knew that when meet with as much sauce and cheese as I wanted to put on my pie, that it would sag under the pressure. So I decided to go the deep-dish route. Since you eat the real thing with a knife and fork, I thought the experience with a polenta pie would be right on target. The result was delish. I even shared half my pie with my friend Jordana, a pizza connoisseur if there ever was one, and she approved. I’m going to have to test out freezing the “crust” in the same way I do these polenta bites so that polenta pizza can be a new weeknight meal go-to. Stay tuned for that experiment.
If you, like me, are gluten-free and prone to bouts of irrational, self-destructive pizza eating, this polenta pie will be your new best friend.
Deep Dish Polenta Pizza with Onions and Pesto
Makes 2 servings
Make sure that you make the bottom crust at least 1/2 inch thick, and that the side walls are sturdy as well. Think of it like making a pie crust – you don’t want the sides to collapse when you cut a slice. Feel free to experiment with toppings – like most deep dish pizzas, you don’t have to be afraid to load them on!
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups water or stock
3/4 cup polenta
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup pizza sauce or marinara
1/4 cup grated part skim mozzarella
1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cubed
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons pesto
1. Grease a 9-inch cake pan with olive oil. Set aside.
2. In a large stock pot or dutch oven, bring the milk and water/stock to a simmer over high heat. When bubbles begin to form, whisk in the polenta in a gentle stream, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the polenta is thick but still smooth, about 10 minutes. Add the salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Continue to stir until the polenta is resisting your whisk and forms a clump inside of it, about 3 to 5 minutes more.
3. Working quickly, spoon the polenta into the prepared pan and smooth it evenly, pressing some of the mixture up the sides. Place a loose sheet of plastic wrap over it, then use a 1-cup measure to smooth the bottom and press the polenta up the sides of the pan, making sure to still have some slope. The bottom crust and side walls should all be about 1/2 inch thick. You don’t have to go all the way up the sides of the pan, just shy of an inch tall.
4. Refrigerate the polenta crust for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Bake the chilled polenta in the oven for 3o to 40 minutes, until crispy and beginning to brown around the edges. Remove from the oven.
6. Spoon the sauce into the prepared crust and use the back of your spoons to smooth it into an even layer. Arrange the cheeses on top, followed by the onions. Dot the top of the pie with the pesto. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
7. Return the pie to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the onions are beginning to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately, straight from the pan.
Food Network #fallfest has segued into #comfortfoodfeast. Lucky us. Check out the other great takes on pizza below!
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Gluten-Free Grain-Free Mini Pizza Faces
Feed Me Phoebe: Deep-Dish Polenta Pizza With Onions and Pesto
Cooking With Elise: Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
Haute Apple Pie: Honey, Gouda and Goat Cheese Pizza
What’s Gaby Cooking: Loaded Veggie and Prosciutto Pizza
Sweet Life Bake: Mexican Pizza – Tlayuda con Chorizo y Frijoles
Devour: Unexpected but Delicious Pizza Toppings
Virtually Homemade: Mashed Potato Bacon Pizza
The Cultural Dish: Pizza, Pizza, Pizza! Three Delicious Variations
Thursday Night Dinner: Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza
The Heritage Cook: Gluten-Free Pizza Focaccia
FN Dish: As Quick as Delivery Pizza Recipes