CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) - A fun, healthful way to enjoy pizza without white flour and mounds of fatty cheese is to make your own! Writer, cook Nikki Gardner from ArtAndLemons.com, showed us how to make a Vegetable Polenta Pizza.
Spring Vegetable Polenta Pizza
Makes 2 thin crust 10-inch pies
For the polenta crust:
- 1 ½ cups coarse cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ cups cold water
- 2 cups boiling water
For the pesto:
1 cup pesto (see recipe below)
For the topping:
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large leeks, (rinsed well and tough greens and ends removed), sliced into thin rounds
- 1 fennel bulb (fronds and core removed), sliced lengthwise into 1-inch wedges
- ½ pound asparagus (ends trimmed), sliced into 2 1/2-inch pieces
- sea salt
- optional: 8 to 10 ounces crumbled plain or herb garlic goat cheese
- Combine cornmeal, salt, olive oil, and cold water in a small bowl. Have the boiling water on the stove in a saucepan, and whisk in the cornmeal mixture. Cook about 10 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently. It will get very thick. Remove from heat, and let cool to the touch.
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Oil a 10-inch pie or tart pan. Add the polenta, and use a spatula and wet hands to form it into a smooth, thick crust over the bottom and sides of the pan. Brush the surface with olive oil, and bake uncovered for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium heat and sauté leek, fennel, and asparagus in the olive oil for about 5 to 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
- Remove the polenta crust from the oven. Turn up the oven to a low broil. Spread the pesto onto the bottom of the baked crust; add the sautéed leek, fennel, and asparagus (followed by the goat cheese if using). Broil on the middle rack about 5 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown on the edges. Serve hot.
Makes about 1 cup
- 2 cups packed baby arugula leaves, washed and drained
- juice from ½ a lemon
- 1 garlic clove, optional
- 1/2 cup almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt (to taste)
- Blend arugula, lemon juice, garlic, and nuts in a food processor until the nuts are ground.
- Drizzle in the olive oil, with the machine still running; process until you have a smooth paste.
- Season to taste with salt.