© Jo-Ann Richards
Polenta pizza with chicken and asiago
A one-of-a-kind pie that features a wheat-free crust
Polenta is a cooked, thick cornmeal mixture that, when spread on a pizza pan and baked, provides a dense, wheat-free crust.
Prep time: 25 minutes, plus cooling and setting
Cooking time: 32 to 37 minutes
1 tbsp. (15 ml) olive oil
3½ c. (875 ml) water
1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
1 c. (250 ml) cornmeal
½ c. (125 ml) tomato sauce
1 c. (250 ml) grated asiago cheese
1 c. (250 ml) shredded rotisserie chicken meat, or to taste
8 to 12 pitted black olives, halved
¼ tsp. (1 ml) fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
8 to 12 fresh basil leaves
Brush a 12-inch (30-cm) non-stick pizza pan with the olive oil and set aside.
Pour the water into a medium, heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the salt and then reduce the heat to medium. While whisking steadily, slowly pour in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, whisking frequently.
Using a sturdy wooden spoon to stir the polenta, cook, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes more. At this point the polenta will be quite thick, but spreadable.
Spoon the polenta onto the prepared pizza pan and quickly spread into a circle ¼ to ½ inch (6 mm to 1.25 cm) thick. Allow to cool to room temperature and set, about 20 minutes. (Polenta pizza can be made to this point several hours in advance; cover and refrigerate until ready to top and bake.)
Preheat the oven to 450˚F (230˚C). Spread the tomato sauce evenly over the polenta. Top with the cheese, chicken and olives. Sprinkle with the fennel seeds. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the polenta is hot and a little crispy on the bottom.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 3 to 4 minutes. Top with fresh basil, cut in 8 wedges and serve. Serves 4 (2 wedges each).
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