Last summer, I made a trip out to New York to stay with a childhood friend in her savvy new apartment. On one of my last nights, we went a small, intimate wine bar on the lower east side, Inoteca. Cozy, dimly lit, and an unusual wine list with over 600 bottles, Inoteca stays jam packed til 3 am. Sitting elbow to elbow with all tables surrounding us, it didn’t stop us from enjoying great wine and authentically Italian small dishes, it was fantastic. There was one specific dish that I clearly remember, the polenta fries with homemade tomato dipping sauce.
This afternoon while looking at flights from LAX-JFK (I’m thinking sometime mid-June), I couldn’t stop thinking about those polenta fries! So I opted for a healthier baked version of the polenta fries and decided if I’m doing Italian tonight, might as well make it a polenta pizza loaded with plenty of veggies! So this dinner is for you Lin, I will be seeing you soon in NY after you get back from your fabulous Italian vaca!
Spinach Polenta Pizza
Makes 3-4 Servings
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup coarse cornmeal
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Dash of cayenne pepper (optional, but gives the dish a kick)
- Dash of salt
- 5 oz cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 1 1/2 cup baby spinach (frozen or fresh)
- 3/4 cup of diced peppers (red, yellow, orange)
- 1/4 yellow onion (diced)
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese (optional, but I chose to omit)
- Spray a pie pan/baking pan with Pam cooking spray to grease. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine milk, water and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium heat, and add cornmeal, while whisking to prevent lumps from forming.
- Turn heat to low and simmer, whisking frequently for about 10 minutes *if mixture becomes too thick, whisk in a bit more water
- Turn off heat. Stir 1 tbsp olive oil into cooked cornmeal and pour into prepared baking pan; spread it evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and put it in refrigerator until it is firm (overnight or at least over 1 hour)
- Take polenta our of the fridge. Heat oven to 450 degrees F
- Put polenta in oven covered with tomato sauce and bake for 25-30 minutes (depending on how deep your baking dish is)
- Meanwhile, in a large greased saucepan over medium-high heat, add the mushrooms, onions, peppers until softened (~5 minutes)
- Add spinach to saucepan and sauté until it releases its water and pan becomes dry. Sprinkle with dash of salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
- Take polenta out of oven, top with cooked vegetables and fontina cheese (optional). Pop it back into the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts.