I recently saw polenta pizza on a dinner menu and knew that I had to make it as soon as possible. Could there be a better combination for a New Orleans menu than grits, peppers, and sausage? I don’t think so. For those that don’t know, polenta is ground cornmeal. Depending on how you cook it, it can be used for a creamy porridge, like grits, or a mixed with less liquid and cut into rigid shapes. It’s a slightly more savory option than cream of wheat, but has a similar texture. I normally make it with a creamy consistency and serve it under brisket or pot roast. But this time, I am using it as pizza crust! One of the classic sandwich combinations is for sausage and peppers. Unless you are a vegetarian, you are bound to love it. Instead of a traditional Italian sausage, I am using andouille sausage as the star of this dish. Andouille is a spicy French sausage that is most commonly found in New Orleans dishes. It adds the perfect kick to creamy polenta and sweet bell peppers. I’ve chosen to skip the cheese for this particular pizza, but you can always add some grated mozzarella or cheese of choice to the top!
Makes: roughly 36 pieces
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes Baking Time: 40 minutes Total: 2 hours 10 minutes
2 cups polenta cornmeal
1 cup whole milk
5 cups water
2 tsp oregano
2 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 white onion, small dice or thinly sliced (how you like it)
1 clove garlic, minced
1- 8 oz package andouille sausage
1 red bell pepper, small dice
1 green bell pepper, small dice
mozzarella cheese, grated (optional)
- Heat the milk, water, and oregano in a medium sauce pot on a medium-high heat. When it starts to boil, add the polenta. Whisk the mixture over medium heat, stirring to avoid sticking. Continue to whisk and cook until the polenta is thick, about 15 minutes. Add the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spray a cookie sheet well with cooking spray. Use a rubber spatula and spread the polenta in an even layer across sheet. Refrigerate the polenta for at least one hour, up to overnight, before baking the pizza.
- To prepare the toppings, heat a large saute pan over low heat. Add the sausage to the pan and cook for about 8 minutes, or until it is just cooked through. Strain the sausage from any liquid and set aside. Add the peppers, onions, and garlic to the pan. Saute for 5-7 minutes or until caramelized. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove the polenta from the refrigerator and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and scatter the sausage across the pizza. Add the onions, peppers, and cheese if you choose to have it. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until the edges of the pizza start to get crispy and start to brown.
- Let the pizza sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Other Pizzas Worth Pondering…