Polenta Pizzas

Ingredients

For the pizza crust:

  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ¼ cups polenta
  • Cornmeal, for dusting

For the kale and mushroom topping:

  • 1 large leek, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 maitake, or hen-of-the-woods, mushrooms
  • 1 bunch kale, finely chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup pasta sauce

For the chard and parsley pesto topping:

  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup Parsley Walnut Pesto

Among the many gluten-free people I meet, almost all say they miss pizza more than any other food. This version is sure to please those who are gluten-free as well as those who are not. The crust can be made hours in advance. Keep it wrapped and refrigerated, and bake it when you make your topping of choice.

If you’re short on time, brown-rice tortillas make a great last-minute pizza crust.

Adapted from “Clean Start” by Terry Walters.

Click here to see Spa-Inspired Dinner Party.

Directions

For the pizza crust:

Over high heat, bring stock to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add salt, basil, oregano, parsley, pepper, and olive oil. Whisking continuously, pour in polenta and continue whisking for 5-7 minutes until smooth and thick. Pour into two 11-inch tart pans and spread evenly over the bottom of each pan. Cool slightly and then refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place pizza stone or baking sheet on middle rack. Remove polenta from refrigerator, sprinkle pizza stone or baking sheet with cornmeal, transfer polenta to stone or baking sheet and bake 40 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

For the kale and mushroom topping:

Place a large skillet over medium heat and sauté leek in 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil for 3 minutes. Add mirin and sauté 2 minutes longer. Crumble maitake mushrooms, add to pan, and sauté 5 minutes or until soft. Fold in kale and sauté 3 minutes longer. Drizzle with remaining olive oil, season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Once the topping is ready, spread the pasta sauce evenly over the crust, leaving a ½-inch edge. Top with kale or chard mixture and return to oven to bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cut with pizza wheel and serve.

For the chard and parsley pesto topping:

Sauté onion and garlic in oil until soft, following the directions for the kale topping. Add chard, sauté 1 minute, remove from heat, and season to taste. To assemble the pizza, spread the pesto evenly over the crust, and then follow the directions above.

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