Wowzers.. What was I thinking! I know, the same thing you are…YES YES YES!!! Gluten free what now.. My lovely sister is on that ban wagon. She has been having"issues" lately(so many, it's hard to pin point) and says she is feeling better without the gluten. Me being the lovely person that I am want to feed my poor sister, make her happy with food. I HAD to prepare that lady a dinner and it had to be pizza cause I know how much she likes her pizza. So I brain storm. What would be a good gluten-free pizza crust? I could do the obvious and get gluten-free flour, but to be honest, that's some expensive stuff and I really didn't feel like going to the store. I wanted to work with what I had in the house….and ah ha, there it is, cornmeal.. With a little bit of water I can turn that into some polenta and a super gluten-free pizza crust.
So in walks polenta(if polenta could walk) What goes good with polenta? Caramelized onions, mushrooms and yes, my last delicate squash.(I am too nice) A nice base of marinara sauce and a bit of parmesan cheese mixed into the crust and sprinkled on top…..a complete work of genius that I was proud to serve to the gluten free lady.
Note. I have to make this clear, just because this pizza is gluten-free doesn't mean that a person that is not gluten-free cannot eat this. Anyone and Everyone should eat this pizza.
There really isn't a whole lot of ingredients to this pizza… Cornmeal for the polenta. Marinara sauce….I used jarred marinara because it was a little easier and we don't always need to make things from scratch…Lots of onions(2 finely sliced), handful of sliced mushrooms, thinly sliced squash and parmesan cheese. Most of the prep takes place at the same time, but that's good, we can multi task, just have everything pre chopped and ready to go. First thing first, start the polenta
There are so many different ratios and directions on how to prepare polenta, so if you feel like your way is better, I trust you. What I did for this crust was 1 cup cornmeal to about 2 1/4 cups water. The main thing is the finished product. You want a pasty paste that is spreadable but not overly watery.
Bring the water to a boil and constantly whisk while gradually pouring in the cornmeal. After a minute to two, it should be pretty well incorporated and there shouldn't be to many lumps. Turn the heat down to simmer and stir a lot until the polenta starts to pull away for the sides of the pot. Really scrap the bottom of the pot so it doesn't burn. Once its done, add in a 1/4 cup of parmesan( if you want to keep it vegan, just don't add it) and salt and pepper.
On a well oiled baking sheet or pizza sheet..spread the polenta into the shape of your desire. I went with a somewhat circular shape, but now that I think of it, I wish I had been more creative, like maybe a triangle or even the shape of a bus….Yeah, a bus shaped pizza would have been cool.
This crust needs to be pre baked so stick it in the oven.It should take about 20ish minutes.
You got the crust in, the squash in, now we need to caramelize the onions. You may be thinking that 2 onions is a lot, and it kind of is, but you want a lot. A tiny bit of oil into a skillet and all the onions. medium low heat with a lid, string on occasion. When the onions start to caramelize, add the mushrooms and cook until onions are nice and soft and the mushrooms are no longer raw. By the time you done with this task…everything should be ready….time to assemble!
First marinara…then the roasted squash.
I Sprinkle a layer of parmesan cheese and pile on those onions and mushrooms,. Sprinkle with a little more cheese. ( use vegan cheese or no cheese if you want it vegan) Back into the oven for another 15 minutes to give everything some time to crisp and melt. Remove from oven and appreciate…That is one good looking pizza. I took a long spatial and run under the crust just to make sure if wasn't stuck. I also found that if you let it cool for a few minutes before serving, the polenta gets a little stiffer and easier to handle, but not necessary.
Its time to eat! And I know that it was a success. This is my gauge for how good it was…I stopped by the next day to drop a xmas tree stand off to her(again, look at how nice I am) and she was eating lunch…the left over pizza. That might not seem like anything to you but to me… She doesn't eat leftovers. Sure, she will stick them in the fridge, but that's where they stay until she tosses into the garbage. The pizza was leftover good….That is good!
Polenta Delicata Caramelized Onions and Mushroom Pizza
- 1 cup polenta (Cornmeal)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the pan
- 2 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan(omit if making vegan)
- 1/2 of Marinara sauce
- 1 small delicata squash
- 2 medium onions
- 8-10 mushrooms
- 2 gloves garlic
Pre heat oven to 425
In a medium saucepan, bring 2¼ cups water to a boil. Whisking constantly, slowly add the cornmeal while constantly whisking. Once full incorporated, turn to low and stir for a few minutes until the polenta starts to thicken and pull away from the sides. Stir in 1/4 cup of parmesan (if using). Salt and pepper to taste. Genously oil a pizza sheet to a cookie sheet and spread the polenta mixture about a 1/2 thick. Place into oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until crust is a nice golden brown.
While the crust is cooking, place thinly sliced squash on an oiled baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven at the same time as crust, flipping squash after 10 minutes. Cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes.
While the crust and squash is baking, caramelize the onions. In a large skillet with a bit of oil. toss in onions and a little salt. Cook on medium low heat with a lid, giving them a good stir every now and then. Once onions are nicely cooked down, toss in the mushrooms. Continue to cook unit mushrooms are no longer raw.
Remove crust and squash from oven and let cool for a minute. Now just pile stuff on. Spread marinara sauce evenly around crust. Add squash and top with cheese. Dump the onions and mushroom on top and sprinkle with a bit more cheese.(Again, use vegan or no cheese to keep it vegan) Place back into oven for another 20 minutes.
Remove and let cool for a few minutes………..and then eat eat eat!!!
A good side dish for this pizza…a nice light arugula salad. Hey, you could even just toss some greens right on top of this pie, that would be fantastic too!
Enjoy and be awesome!