Polenta Pie With Italian Toppings
I usually am not a fan of dishes when one thing is passed off as another one — veggie burgers, mock crab meat, tofu — that’s just not my cup of tea. I say, if you are going to eat a burger, for Pete’s sake, just eat the dang real meat. But sometimes, curiosity just takes over, and you end up with things like this one.
This recipe contains water, milk, olive oil, salt, cornmeal, pancetta, shallots, garlic, cheese (mozzarella, fresh), spinach (baby), bell peppers (yellow), pine nuts
Cook time: 50 min
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus a bit more for sauteing and drizzling the baking sheet
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup yellow corn meal, coarse grind
- 3-4 oz pancetta, diced
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, slivered
- 3 oz (or more if you are a fan) crumbled blue cheese such as gorgonzola, can be substituted with goat cheese or fresh baby mozzarella
- 1/2 lbs baby spinach
- 1 bright colored sweet bell pepper, cut in half, seeded and sliced not too thin
- a handful of pignoli (pine nuts)
- 1. Make polenta first. In a saucepan, bring water, milk, 1/4 olive oil and salt to a boil. Reduce heat immediately, and pour in the corn. Stirring very frequently, simmer corn for about 15 minutes, until very thick.
- 2. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment, and drizzle a bit of olive oil on it. Spread polenta on the sheet evenly, to about 1/2″ thickness, and shape into a circle, just like a pizza crust. Let cool until nicely set.
- 3. Heat the oven to 425F. Sprinkle polenta crust with freshly ground pepper, and bake for 30 minutes, until nicely browned around the edges. Keep the oven on.
- 4. While crust is baking, prepare the toppings. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Saute pancetta, shallots and garlic for about 7-8 minutes, until nicely golden and very fragrant. Don’t overcook.
- 5. Remove the pancetta topping into a bowl and set aside.
- 6. Heat a bit more oil in the same skillet and saute baby spinach until wilted and dark green, for about 3 minutes or so. Again, remove the spinach and set aside.
- 7. Add pepper slices and saute for a couple of minutes until they are nicely wilted, for about 3-4 minutes.
- 8. Layer your toppings atop polenta crust, starting with cheese crumbs, followed by pancetta mix, spinach, peppers, and finally pine nuts. Arrange everything in a pretty way. Drizzle just a few drops more of olive oil, and put back in the oven for 4-5 minutes.
- 9. Slice like a pizza or cut into 3 inch squares. Serve immediately.