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Name:Polenta Pizza Contributor:Rob Scott
Description:Pesto bite sized pizzas Posted:1998-09-10
Key words:polenta, pesto Category:Appetizers
ID:426 Updated:2006-04-02 20:11:33
Ingredients:1 24-oz tube of pre-made (San Gennaro) polenta, flavor of your choice. Of course, you may substitute freshly made polenta, but this is easier. If you use fresh polenta, you will probably need little or none of the olive oil. The San Gennaro polenta is fat free and requires the oil for proper prepared consistency.

6-10 Tbsp olive oil (used as necessary to provide proper consistency of the polenta)

1 clove of minced garlic, or 1 Tbsp of Polanders minced garlic

About 1 Tbsp dill weed (one of my favorite seasonings)

2/3 c shredded parmesan cheese (grated Kraft crap is NOT acceptable, it should be shredded and fresh if possible)

5-6 Tbsp of fresh or pre-made pesto sauce

1 container (I have no idea how one describes this measure) of cherry and/or teardrop tomatoes, each sliced into two or three thin slices (need a VERY sharp knife for this or it's messy)

1 large or 2 small bell peppers of your color choice (mixed colors look wonderful), thin sliced

1 double handful (1/2 lb?) of sliced Crimini or other flavorful mushrooms, or one container of pre-sliced mushrooms (if you're in a hurry or feeling lazy)

Other sliced or diced veggies or cooked meats (sausages?) as your tastes desire

1/3 additional c shredded parmesan cheese (see note above about Kraft crap)

1 c grated mozzarella cheese
Preparation:If you have scratch-made polenta with sufficient oil content such that it is spreadable, you may skip the initial polenta prep and move right on to adding the cheese and spices followed by spreading the polenta into the pan.

Preparing the polenta:
Empty the tube of polenta into a mixing bowl. It helps to slice the polenta into thin slices. As it comes out of the tube, the fat free variety is rather hard, crumbly and entirely unspreadable. Add sufficient olive oil and mash the polenta with a potato or bean masher until you achieve a spreadable paste and get the lumps out of the mixture.

Add 2/3 c parmesan cheese, garlic, dill weed and other interesting spices as you desire and mix in thoroughly.

Lightly grease a 10x16-inch baking pan with Crisco or spray it with a vegetable oil spray. Spread the polenta mixture evenly on the bottom of the pan. Bake in a 250F-degree oven for about 10 minutes to warm the polenta mixture.

Apply a very thin layer of pesto sauce across the top of the polenta, leaving a 1/2" border. If you like lots of pesto flavor, spread a bit more as desired.

Arrange sliced cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and green peppers (and other foodstuffs as you desire) on top of mixture in pan.

Sprinkle remaining 1/3 c parmesan cheese over the entire affair. Spread mozzarella cheese evenly over the top.

Bake for about 20 minutes at 250-300F. Green peppers should just be getting hot and soften a bit, but don't cook so long that the mushrooms get dried out.

Remove from oven and let cool for just a short while. Use a pizza cutter to slice through the toppings. Unlike a flour crust, the polenta crust will not become very firm. Requires a spatula to serve and a fork to consume.
Notes:I made this for a BBQ last weekend. It was a big hit, and is a very easy appetizer for a reasonably large crowd. As made here provides about 20 snack-sized servings or 10-15 larger servings.

As Andrea R. (the Tart Tart, what a delightful image!) stated today, there are certain difficulties with conversion to real measures when one knows by eyeball how much to use. Some of the measures above are accurate but please forgive me if others are a bit vague. I've tried to describe real quantities as I used them.

Most delicious. High praise from all at our birthday BBQ last weekend. It disappeared quickly.

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