This pizza-polenta hybrid was inspired by my friend Robin’s gushing description of a polenta bread served at a favorite restaurant of hers in Philly Mama Palma’s. We were out walking the dogs, she described this bread, I decided that I had to have it and soon.
This dish is fairly easy to make — some assembly is required— and quite substantial. I served it with a simple salad on the side. It could also make a pretty fabulous appetizer.
Polenta Bread with Roasted Corn and Peppers
1 ball pizza dough (Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods both have good pre-made ones)
1 bell pepper (I used half red and half green from our CSA)
1 ear of corn
olive oil, salt, pepper, chili flake
1 cup polenta
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
basil pesto (from my freezer—store-bought would do just fine also—the pesto adds an important acidity to the dish)
I made each of the elements (pizza crust, roasted veggies, polenta, pesto) separately and then assembled them onto the cooked pizza crust just before serving. This was the easiest way I could figure out to make this dish and in total it took about an hour to make. The pesto and roasted veggies can easily be done ahead of time.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating, roast your veggies. You could do this in the oven with some olive oil, over the gas burners of your stove, or on a grill. I choose the stove method. After roasting, dice the peppers and cut the corn of the cob. Combine in a bowl with some olive oil, salt, pepper and chili flake. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat milk and water to a boil. While the milk mixture is heating, roll out your pizza crust. Brush the top with olive oil, prick the dough with a fork and slide it onto your hot pizza stone or onto a cookie sheet placed closest to the heat source in your oven. The crust will take about 15 minutes to become golden brown and bubbly. Once the crust is in the oven, whisk the polenta into the hot milk mixture. Whisk until smooth, reduce heat and stir frequently. The polenta will thicken quickly and should cook in 10 – 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. After the polenta is cooked, turn of the heat.
Remove the pizza crust from the oven. Rub carefully with a clove of garlic. Spread on a layer of polenta and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with the roasted veggie mixture and then top with a drizzle of pesto. Let it set up for a minute or two and then cut into that delicious carb-overload of a pizza pie!