Monday, March 23, 2009

We made polenta pizza!

(This is a real time conversation between Sarah and Alena, the cooks behind this tasty dish.)

Alena: Hey Sarah. So, do you remember how we came across the recipe for this polenta pizza? I know I do.
Sarah: Hey girl. I think I recall. Wasn't it that Bittman article telling you to "Rethink your Breakfast"? Or something like that? The one that misguided you into making savory oatmeal?
Alena: That's the article. All I know is, I am never putting soy sauce in oatmeal ever again. The polenta pizza however, is something I would definitely make again (and did, in fact, the night after we made this one !) Let's tell 'em all how we began the recipe.
Sarah: This is the Bittman Polenta Method. His version of the pizza had spinach and pancetta, but we changed it up to make it vegetarian. But you can put anything you want on this pizza!

Polenta crust:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup coarse cornmeal (we used instant)

Mama Vallese's sauce
smoked mozzarella
4 shallots, sliced thinly
bunch a spinach
couple cloves garlic

Here are Bitt's instructions for the crust:

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees; brush a layer of olive oil on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine milk with 2 1/2 cups water and a large pinch of salt. Bring just about to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and add cornmeal in a steady stream, whisking all the while to prevent lumps from forming. Turn heat to low and simmer, whisking frequently, until thick, 10 or 15 minutes. If mixture becomes too thick, whisk in a bit more water; you want a consistency approaching thick oatmeal.

2. Stir 1 tablespoon oil into cooked cornmeal (polenta). Spoon it onto prepared pan, working quickly so polenta does not stiffen; spread it evenly to a thickness of about 1/2 inch all over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover baking sheet with plastic wrap and put it in refrigerator until it is firm, an hour or more (you can refrigerate polenta overnight if you prefer).

3. Put polenta in oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it begins to brown and crisp on edges. Here's where we take over.

4. Heat some olive oil in a skillet. Add some garlic and those shallots. Brown em real good. Toss in that spinach. You don't even need to chop it. Just tear off those stems. Cook just for a few minutes.

Now you are ready to assemble.

Spread on that sauce.
Slice up that cheese and put it on.
Distribute those veggies.
Pop that shit in the oven.
Just for like five. Til the cheese melts. That's all you need.

Alena: This is the part I like the best. We got out some plates and put HALF the pie onto mine and HALF onto Sarah's. Actually just kidding, we left like a 1/4 of the pie for Hillary to try, except I think we ended up eating that too. Sorry Hill. We will make another one for all of us soon.
Sarah: This was so good because the polenta crust is spongy but also crispy and is just so delicious in contrast to the smokey mozz and the sweet shallots. Plus it's healthier and feels lighter than regular pizza.
Alena: It's true. In fact, I remember that after we cleaned our plates, we commented that we did not feel as uncomfortably full as we often do when eating regular pizza.

Sarah: That's true. We did make that very comment.
Alena: If only the episode of Gossip Girl that we watched while eating was as good
as the dinner itself, you know?
Sarah: I know right. What was up with that Age of Innocence motif. It's like, JUST IN CASE YOU DIDN'T REALIZE, THIS SHOW IS TRYING TO BE LIKE EDITH WHARTON OR JANE AUSTEN IN ITS IRONIC PORTRAYAL OF NEW YORK HIGH SOCIETY. except it is a show on the cw (i almost said "the wb" LOL).
Alena: Whew, I am so glad you didn't call it the WB, how embarrassing.

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