Stalking the Waiter

Riffing on foods, flavors and methods since...no, that would be telling.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Pepperoni Pizza Polenta etc.

Serves 6-8

This is just what it sounds like, basic (cheese) polenta topped with tomato sauce, pepperoni and cheese before baking. Kids love this, and I’ve seen adults eat an amazing amount, too. If you have polenta left over (or made an extra big batch for the Polenta Florentine) this dish takes only a few minutes to assemble and bake before the meal is ready. Just put together a green salad while the dish is baking for a complete meal.
But don't stop at pepperoni, if your pizza tastes run to something more exotic. Feta or goat cheese, a variety of pitted olives, roasted veggies, other kinds of meats - add whatever suits your fancy for this polenta pizza.
I usually make this in a casserole dish so it’s mostly polenta and less fatty and salty, but you can also use a shallow pan so the polenta is more like a pizza crust (you’ll need more tomato sauce). Caution, make the polenta at least an inch thick, however, or it could get tough in the baking.

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups Cooked polenta
  • 1 cup Basic Tomato Sauce* or canned Pizza or Spaghetti sauce
  • 2-3 cups Grated cheeses (Jack, Parmesan, etc.)
  • Sliced Pepperoni, to your taste
  • Optional: olives and green onions,sliced
Instructions:
  1. Spread Polenta in a baking dish.
  2. Top with tomato sauce and grated cheese.
  3. Arrange the pepperoni slices on top.
  4. Sprinkle with olives and green onions, if used.
  5. Bake at 350 until heated through and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes.
  6. Let rest at least 10-15 minutes before serving so it will set up a bit.

* Basic Tomato Sauce
I’ve been making this sauce for many, many years, and, for me, it has the best flavor combination. It's light but zesty, and I find the acid of the vinegar freshens the tomato flavor and the sugar brings out its richness. You can add tomato paste, meats, wine, broth, more herbs, whatever, to tailor it’s flavor to your own preferences, but it’s wonderful on pizza or spaghetti, as is.
I’m giving you proportions for using only 1 medium can of tomato sauce, but you can scale it up to pretty much as large as you want. I make this in big batches, let it cool, then pour it into sandwich or quart size zipper bags. I lay them out on cookie sheets in the freezer. When they’re frozen, you can stack them up to save space. Then just grab one or as many as you need for your recipe, pop the frozen sauce directly into a saucepan and simmer over low-medium heat until they’re thawed and heated through, or thaw them standing in a microwave safe container in the nuker.

Ingredients:
  • 1 medium can tomato sauce
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped fine
  • Pinch basil or summer savory
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • Pinch sugar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation:
  1. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes, longer if you want a thicker sauce. If it starts to bubble and spit, you’ll need to reduce the heat.
  2. Taste for seasoning: too vinegary, add a tiny bit more sugar; salt and pepper.

2 Comments:

At 4:10 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

b'gina,

That's a great idea.

Thanks for stopping by my blog this evening. I notice your bio says writer. What kind of writing and for whom?

 
At 7:48 PM, Blogger b'gina said...

Hi, Kevin,

I'm writing fiction, mostly, now. But I wrote for television news, and did some food and travel writing, interviews, that kind of thing for local print media. And, of course, I've done food and cooking columns for web and ezine, which this post is from.

You're a personal chef? Am I remembering that correctly? What's that like as a gig?

 

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