Mini Polenta Pizzas

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Polenta is golden-yellow cornmeal made from ground maize. The instant or quick-cook powdered variety can be made in minutes, and if you flavour it with vegetable stock and Parmesan, it tastes delicious. Cut into circles, it makes a good base for pizza recipes.  Leftover polenta can be cut into squares or triangles and baked as a side dish, or coated in gluten-free flour mixed with Parmesan and fried.
Another good topping for the polenta base is caramelized red onion, flavoured with balsamic vinegar and thyme and then topped with melted cheese.
You will have quite a lot of tomato sauce left over which you could use as a sauce for pasta. Rice noodles and buckwheat spaghetti are fine to eat if you have an allergy to wheat. A tasty wheat free recipe.

Prep
25 minutes
Cook
15 minutes plus 25 minutes for the sauce
Best for
Serves
4
Suitable for freezing

Ingredients

Base

  • 750 ml hot vegetable stock
  • 190 g instant polenta
  • 60 g freshly grated Parmesan
  • salt and pepper, to season

Filling

  • 4 tbsp Annabel’s Hidden Vegetable Sauce, or use a jar of pasta sauce
  • 60 g Cheddar or mozzarella, grated
  • plus toppings of your choice, such as strips of ham, pepper or tomato

Hidden Vegetable Tomato Sauce

  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 courgette, grated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp sundried tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tsp caster sugar
  • Salt and pepper

Conversion chart

Method

  1. To make the polenta base, bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a large pan and pour in the polenta in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Cook, stirring, until the polenta is thick- around 3–5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan plus salt and pepper to taste. Spread the polenta out on to a lightly oiled baking sheet to around £1 coin (1/2 cm/1/4 in) thickness. Leave to cool, then chill until set, around 1 hour.
  2. To make the ‘Hidden Vegetable Tomato Sauce’. Put the vegetables in a large saucepan with the oil and sauté for 8–10 minutes until the vegetables are soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then transfer to a blender. Add the purées, ketchup, tomatoes, and sugar and whiz until smooth. Return to the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes until thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Cut out 4 large circles using a 9 cm (3 1/2 in) cutter (alternatively, cut the base into a pretty shape, like the flower shapes in the photograph). Top each pizza with 1 tablespoonful of sauce and some grated cheese. Add any other toppings that you like. Transfer the pizzas to a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 13–15 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling.
  4. You can freeze these pizzas already assembled and bake from frozen, adding 2–3 minutes to the cooking time.

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