I was excited when I first saw this recipe, although my enthusiasm subsided a tad once I took note of the “Total Time” needed to accomplish the meal. A pizza is a quick thing right? Not so much in this case because of the time necessary to prepare and cook the crust—though it’s a great alternative to pizza for gluten-free eaters.
Okay, technically polenta baked into an oval crust isn’t a pizza, but what’s the point of obsessing over titles when the result is a crazy delicious dinner, perfect for a party with friends or a cozy night on the couch? The crispy toasted corn crust and cheesy sausage will win over anyone with taste buds.
—Real Simple Magazine
I forgave myself because at least I noted the time process early in the morning which allowed me to rethink my afternoon schedule. Just giving you fair warning here. Plus, I had to pat myself on the back for thinking to spread my roasted garlic olive oil paste (instead of plain EVOO) over the polenta crust before cooking it in Step 4. Another add-on was about a 1/4 cup of halved, cured, pitted black olives which gave a bit of a salty bite.
Our Italian hot sausage (you can use mild if preferred) came in a package of five links, so I just cooked all of them and saved the leftover meat to throw into a pasta dish later in the week—it would’ve been too much for the one pie.
It will seem like a whole lot of chard initially when you add it to the skillet, but just like spinach, it wilts down to about 10% of its volume. Chard tends to be gritty so give it a good rinse before you chop it up. I found hanging it over the kitchen faucet with the twist tie it came with is a good way to let it drip dry.
Was it worth it? The short answer is yes, we both loved the taste. When you have some downtime, I suggest you make the crust ahead of time, and even the sausage/chard topping if possible. When assembled later on, the pizza will be in the oven long enough to heat through everything. Then it truly does become a quick weeknight dinner.
Shopping tip: Make sure to buy instant polenta, not the regular kind, otherwise it won’t cook enough to make firm crust. A tip I should have paid heed to when I decided to add this to our weekly menu list. Without “instant” in our pantry, I had to run out and buy some after we had already done our grocery shopping 😦 —no pat on the back here.
Polenta Pizza with Sausage, Swiss Card and Ricotta
- 1½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 cup instant polenta
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- Roasted garlic paste (optional)
- 3 hot Italian sausages, casings removed
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems chopped and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
- 1 14-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
- ¾ cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup cured, pitted black olives, halved (optional)
- Bring 4 cups water and 1¼ teaspoons salt to a boil in a medium pot over high. Slowly whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking often, until no lumps remain and polenta begins to pull away from sides of pot, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon oil and ½ teaspoon pepper.
- Brush a large rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil. Pour polenta onto baking sheet and spread to a ¼-inch-thick oval. Let cool slightly (about 10 minutes), cover loosely with plastic wrap, and chill until firm (about 45 minutes).
- Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in lowest position.
- Brush top of polenta with 1 tablespoon oil (or olive oil garlic paste if you have it). Bake until edges are golden brown and crisp, 45 to 50 minutes.
I forgot to add in the ground pepper in Step 1, so I sprinkled it on after chilling it.
- Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add sausage; cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add chard stems and cook until tender, about 2 minutes.
- Add chard leaves and remaining ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Toss until wilted, about 2 minutes.
- Top polenta with tomatoes (breaking them up as you go), sausage, and chard. Dollop cheese over top. If using, sprinkle on halved olives.
- Bake until cheese and greens begin to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Adapted from a recipe found in Real Simple Magazine By Grace Elkus