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January 12, 2012

Recipe for gluten-free polenta mini pizzas

Polenta-mini-pizzas

Grazing. I love the concept of grazing, eating small bites of this and that, teasing my palate with salty, then sweet, then spicy, rather than one large dish. That's the theory behind tapas, the wonderful little dishes of Spain. As an appetizer or part of a grazing menu, or even a small lunch with a green salad, these polenta mini pizzas would be perfect. You can top the pizzas with absolutely anything -- bits of leftovers from the fridge, smoked salmon or proscuitto or sausage, vegetables from the garden, any type of cheese -- and you can make them ahead and reheat just before serving. And the best part? They look rustic and a little bit fancy, at the same time.

Polenta-mini-pizzas-mexican

Polenta-mini-pizzas-spinach

Gluten-free polenta mini pizzas

From the pantry, you'll need: cornmeal, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, black beans, canned green chiles, garlic, sun-dried or slow-roasted tomatoes, feta cheese, walnuts, cooking spray.

Serves 6-12 (makes 12 small pizzas).

Ingredients

For the pizza base:
2 qts water
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

For the pizza toppings, your choice:
Mozzarella cheese, diced
Sun-dried tomato, diced
Canned chopped green chiles, drained
Canned black beans, drained and rinsed
Spinach sautéed with garlic
Chopped walnuts, toasted
Crumbled feta cheese

Cooking spray

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

If you have 2 muffin-top pans, now's the time to use them. If not, line 2 rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper.

Spray the six compartments of each muffin-top pan with cooking spray. Or, if you're using sheet pans lined with parchment, trace circles (use a round cookie cutter for a pattern) on the parchment paper. They can be quite close together. Set your prepared pans aside.

In a deep pot, bring 2 quarts of water to the boil. Whisking constantly, slowly add the cornmeal, whisking to make sure there are no lumps. Switch to a wooden spoon, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until the cornmeal starts to pull away from the side of the pan, 3-4 minutes. Then, stir in the parmesan, salt and pepper, and stir for a few seconds to incorporate the cheese.

Immediately spread 3/4 cup of cooked polenta in each of the muffin top compartments (or traced circles on the sheet pans).

Top with your choice of toppings. We made two variations: (1) black beans, corn, sun-dried tomato, green chiles and mozzarella; (2) sautéed spinach with garlic, chopped walnuts and feta.

Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is melted on top and there's a hint of browning around the edges of the polenta.

Serve hot.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Polenta with wild mushroom ragout
Polenta, squash and cheese loaf
Cheese-y cornmeal cakes
Lemon thyme cornmeal cookies
Cornbread with fresh corn and herbs

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Roasted butternut squash polenta with smoked gouda and sautéed mushrooms, from Andrea Meyers
Polenta with lemony asparagus and chickpeas, from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Ratatouille on broiled polenta with baby greens, from Gluten-free Goddess
Polenta casserole with fontina and tomato sauce, from Simply Recipes
Broccoli rabe on crispy polenta with a rosemary-goat cheese sauce, from Food Blogga

Comments

wow! I am fairly inexperienced with making polenta..but this really seems like a great recipe to try! So the consistency of the polenta is thick enough not to spread too far out (ie out of the circles) and sturdy enough to support the toppings! I can't wait to try this...

Lydia, this recipe is genius! What a wonderful way to make gluten free pizza, polenta is always a delicious meal. Yum!

I would say that these are closer to Mexican gorditas than pizza. but that is just my opinion.
I also don't think Gorditas get much love. :(

This sounds so delicious!

I love polenta and I love these pizzas! So fun!

These look great. We love all the parts, so why not? Our pizza quickie has been on corn tortillas, well loved by Mr GF. This does look more satisfying!

Carol, polenta begins to set almost immediately, so unless it's very runny, it won't spread too far.

Patricia, have fun with these! I used what I had on hand, but almost any topping that works for pizza will work here.

Lindsey, they are close to gorditas. Or arepas. We'll have to give gorditas some love soon!

Kalyn, these were just the right size for me for lunch with a green salad, but would make great appetizers.

Maria, so many possible combinations of toppings.... I'd love to do mixed wild mushrooms and cheese.

Susan, I love tortilla pizzas and also pizzas made on pita bread. It's all about the toppings, after all!

These look amazing! I am going to have to try them. I am always looking for ways to get my pizza fix since I do not eat many grains.

Such a smart idea - I even have a muffin top pan to make these!

i wish there were more tapas themed restaurants around my area. when we went to disneyworld we ate at a fabulous tapas place that had a menu at least 15 pages long. gosh that was amazing. are there any out your way? muffin top pans are the best for mini pizzas. smart woman!

Cassidy, I hope these polenta pizzas help satisfy your pizza cravings.

Kathy, muffin top pans are genius, aren't they? I've always been partial to the tops.

Vanillasugar, nothing that I know of. We always go to Boston, where there are several good ones (Estragon in the South End is a favorite).

These pizzas sound amazing and I’ve been inspired to feature them in my Friday Food Fetish roundup. And I'll be sharing on Pinterest. Please let me know if you have any objections and KEEP IT COMING!

I have to laugh because all I do all day is graze! That must be why I love tapas so much but I have to admit I can start eating and not stop. That said, I LOVE these polenta mini pizzas! I love polenta cooked this way and love the idea of serving them with toppings. Would make a great meal! Perfect!

Great recipe Lydia! I've never made my own polenta (gasp!) but seeing how easy these are I'm going to save this idea for pizza night!

mmm, delicious. With muffin pans is really possible to create such a variety of small treats. As somebody commented before me - create your own tapas, he he. Thank for the tips.

Hi I used your recipe and didnt have a muffin top pan, so used the circle sheet route, however I did not get successful results. I did just as the directions said and came out with a mushy middle and crust stuck to the paper... I dont know what went wrong-- urs looks delicious tho!

Suzie, I'm so sorry the recipe didn't give you good results. I'm always disappointed when that happens, but I definitely want to know. The only thing I can think of is that the polenta might not have cooked quite enough before pouring it onto the pan; it should start to set almost immediately, even before you put the toppings on and get it in the oven. One alternative might be to spread a thin layer in a square cake pan, add the toppings, then cut it after it's cooked into small squares to serve as an appetizer.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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