Not that anyone ever needs an alternative to pizza, but if you were looking to go about it in a very different way- this could be your answer. You use polenta to make the base, rather than a standard white flour crust and I thought it rather lovely. In fact, instead of serving this as a meal, you could cut the polenta with a biscuit round once it’s set and make minis to serve as an app at a party.
Because there is warm and bubbly gorgonzola cheese on the top, the polenta has no need for the likes of milk or cream and is made simply with water. For an additional twist, you could cook it with chicken or vegetable broth instead.
1 ½ cups polenta
5 cups water
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 medium onions, cut in half and sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
4 oz. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a cast iron skillet and sauté the onions over a low heat until they are light brown in color, stirring occasionally (this will take upwards of 30 minutes)
- Bring salted water to a boil in a medium sauce pan
- When the water comes to a boil, add the polenta slowly- while stirring, and reduce the heat to low
- Continue stirring and cook for about 10 minutes, until it thickens
- Spread the thick porridge into a 9″ tart pan and set it aside
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Add the garlic to the caramelized onions and continue to sauté for another minute, stirring constantly
- Season with salt and pepper, add the chopped thyme and mix
- Spread the onion mixture over polenta and top with gorgonzola
- Bake this in the oven for about 10 minutes, then move under a broiler for 2 minutes to put the final bubble on the cheese, and the last crisp on the onions
This recipe founds its inspiration at World’s Healthiest Foods.
Ok, I know, this week has been a little heavy on the goat cheese. But it’s so good!
This particular recipe was developed as an appetizer for a party where hand-held foods are a must. Since I typically do something very sweet and dessert-y I decided to make something savory with just a tiny bit of sweet this time. The overall process takes a while, but could be cut down if you were to use a “log” of polenta instead (as the cooking is done for you).
9 cups water
3 cups uncooked polenta
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
12 oz. soft goat cheese at room temperature
1 jar black raspberry (or your personal preference) preserves
- Preheat oven to 425
- Bring the water, salted, to a boil in a large, nonstick fry pan
- Add the polenta, reduce heat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Remove from heat, stir in the fresh thyme, and let rest while you line a jelly roll pan with foil
- Transfer the cooked polenta to the jelly roll pan and smooth to the edges of the pan with a rubber or offset spatula
- Bake for 20 minutes
- Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes
- Transfer the baked polenta to a large cutting board and cut circles with a biscuit cutter*
- In a stand mixer, with a paddle attachment, mix the goat cheese for 5 minutes to incorporate some air, and make sure that there are no lumps
- Using a pastry bag pipe the goat cheese on top of each of the polenta rounds
- Using a teaspoon, dollop the preserves on top of the goat cheese
*I tried both plastic and metal cutters and found plastic to be rather troublesome and metal to work grandly
This recipe was very good as it is, but it could also be changed up in so many ways: add lemon juice and/or zest to the goat cheese; add honey to the goat cheese for a sweeter take; change up the preserves and use a) a different flavor or b) a fresh fruit; add a fresh mint leaf to the top; use orange zest in the polenta instead of thyme. The list could go on and on.