by Kristin Wartman
This is a delicious and healthful recipe that is based on a New York Times recipe by Mark Bittman, you can view the original recipe here. My version omits the meat and calls for caramelized onion, spinach, garlicky tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese. This is a great alternative for those who are avoiding wheat and/or gluten. It hits the spot for a pizza craving. • 1 cup polenta • ½ cup half-n-half • 2 ½ cups water • 1 jar tomatoes • 1 onion • 2 cups spinach • 4 cloves garlic • 1 cup mozzarella cheese • ¼ cup parmesan • 1 tbl butter • 1 tbl olive oil • spices to taste
1. Grease pizza tray or cookie sheet with olive oil and set aside. Make the polenta by combining ½ cup half-n-half or whole milk with 2 ½ cups water. Put in medium saucepan with pinch of salt and bring to just about a boil. In a steady stream, whisk in polenta (also known as coarse corn meal) and whisk constantly for about 10 to 20 minutes or until thick. Pour onto greased sheet and pat into a circle about ½” thick. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Can be covered and refrigerated over night.
2. Meanwhile, make the sauce and vegetable toppings. For my sauce I use happy girl kitchen jarred tomatoes available at the Berkeley area farmer’s markets while fresh tomatoes are not in season. Put olive oil and 4 cloves chopped garlic in a saucepan. Heat until fragrant. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes to taste. Mash up whole tomatoes with the back of your spoon. Bring to a boil and stir for several minutes. Lower heat and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
4. Once crust has firmed up, cook for about 15 to 20 minutes in hot oven. Remove from oven and set aside.
5. Chop one small onion in half and slice into half moons. Add one tablespoon butter to small saucepan, as it’s melting add onions and stir on medium-low heat. Cook until onions are browned and caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes. When onions are done, add 1 to 2 cups spinach and stir until spinach wilts. Remove from heat.
6. Remove polenta crust from the oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Spoon sauce over crust to coat. Spoon on onion and spinach mixture and spread evenly over crust. Top with mozzarella cheese and more parmesan. Bake in 400 degree over for about 25 minutes, or until cheese has begun to slightly brown. Let cool and slice.