This recipe for Rustic Polenta Pizza with Herbs will quickly become one of your favorite side dishes. You won’t believe how easy this recipe is to prepare.
This polenta pizza post was originally published on January 21, 2015. Updated on January 21, 2017.
I have a confession to make… I love polenta. I’m not even picky about how it’s prepared. Without a doubt it is definitely one of my top five comfort foods.
I love it “mushy”; I love it sliced; I love it on the bbq (if interested, here is one of my go-to recipes: Easy Garlicky Grilled Polenta); I love the texture cornmeal provides in bread, muffins, cookies, cakes and I even used cornmeal to make these Lemon Blueberry Scones! I could go on, but I think you get the picture… I just love polenta.
But what exactly is polenta?
Polenta refers to a dish which is made when you add water (or some other form of liquid, like milk or broth) to cornmeal and cook it (stove top) on low heat for 35 to 45 minutes. That’s it. Do yourself a favor and do not cheat yourself from a smooth, silky polenta. You have to commit to at least 35 minutes of cooking and stirring (I will share my recipe soon…).
Did you know that polenta was once considered a poor man’s food? Today, it can be found on the menu of all the trendy restaurants. It’s great to use as a base for almost anything from sautéed vegetables to stews.
As you probably already know, cornmeal is a type of flour that comes from ground corn. Depending on the type of corn which is used, the colour can be yellow or white; the texture can also vary from fine to coarse.
For this recipe, we will be using equal amounts of fine and coarse cornmeal. Once your pot of water begins to boil, add the salt and olive oil. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Continue to whisk for about 5 minutes or so. You will notice that the polenta mixture will quickly begin to thicken.
Carefully transfer the polenta to a sheet pan as we will be baking it in the oven for about an hour. Recently, my husband bought me a thick cast aluminum oven safe plaque. This polenta pizza comes out perfect every single time. In case you are wondering, he bought the plaque at Costco (not sponsored).
Your polenta pizza can be of any thickness you wish – just spread it out on the sheet pan however thickly you prefer. I usually make one end thin and the other end thicker… that way, everyone is happy. I usually dampen my hands with water and then pat down the polenta to the right thickness; sprinkle whatever herbs I have and pop it in a hot oven. The polenta “pizza” eventually forms a bottom and top crust, while the middle part becomes soft and creamy.
ORIGINS OF THE RECIPE FOR RUSTIC POLENTA PIZZA with HERBS:
Polenta was a staple when I was growing up, and my mom would often prepare it. This polenta pizza, which we referred to as Pizza di Randinie, was a weekly occurrence. Simple to prepare and yet full of flavor. This rustic polenta pizza with herbs is one example of the sort of stuff she’d come up with. I prefer the texture obtained by mixing coarse and fine cornmeal. Experiment and see for yourself how different your pizza can be by using different cornmeal textures.
You can try topping this polenta pizza with cheese, tomato sauce, swiss chard, caramelized onions, marinated roasted red peppers – anything you would top a regular pizza with, really! This basic recipe truly has endless possibilities.
I love my Rustic Polenta Pizza with Herbs. What will you top this pizza with?
Rustic Polenta Pizza with Herbs
- 8 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil separated
- 1½ cup coarse cornmeal
- 1½ cup fine cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons variety of fresh or dry herbs and spices rosemary, thyme, chives, pepper,chili powder, etc...
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Position rack in the center.
- Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil on sheet pan. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine both kinds of cornmeal. Set aside.
- Bring water to boil in a large pot.
- Add salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- Reduce heat to low.
- Whisk in the cornmeal and stir for about 5 minutes or until thickened (the water will be absorbed).
- Spread on greased sheet pan to desired thickness.
- Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and top with your favorite herbs.
- Gently poke the polenta with your fingers to create a "dimples".
- Bake at 400° F for approximately 30 minutes.
- Lower heat to 375° F and continue to bake for another 20-30 minutes.
Allow to cool and cut into pieces.
When cooking polenta, be careful not to burn yourself as there are bursts of air which escape from the mixture...no casualties please.
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided below is just a rough estimate and variations can occur depending on the specific ingredients used.
Thanks for dropping by,
Ciao for now!