Polenta Pizza with Heirloom Tomatoes and Summer Squash (Featuring Parrano Cheese)

This post is sponsored by Parrano Cheese. Thank you for supporting the brands that make A Thought For Food possible.

I'm a bread lover. A pasta lover. A bagel lover. A pizza lover. If it's carbs, I dig it. Which may be why I don't keep a lot of these things around the house, because I have very little self-control. Once in a while, I'll pick up a loaf of bread. We eat pasta maybe once every two weeks. And I leave my bagel and pizza consumption for trips down to New Jersey. By omitting them from our diet (or eating them only occasionally), it forces me to approach my meals creatively.

Which brings me to this pizza. I had initially thought about a more traditional preparation, but decided to brainstorm some alternatives. This was my first attempt at making a polenta crust and I have to say that I'm kind of hooked. No, it's not pizza pizza. But it does hold up surprisingly well and it is incredibly satisfying. The Parrano cheese not only seasons the crust, but it helps it hold its form. It also worked beautifully on top of the pizza, melting to perfection. And I loved how the nutty notes remain pronounced even after it’s baked. I kept the rest of the toppings fairly basic to highlight the seasonal ingredients, especially those heirloom tomatoes, from our most recent CSA delivery (I just can’t get enough of those colors).

To see where you can get your hands on some Parrano (so you can make this pizza), check out their store locator. 

Polenta Pizza with Heirloom Tomatoes and Summer Squash

2 pizzas (serves 6-8)

3 cups water
1 cup corn grits/polenta
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parrano cheese
1.5 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 (depending on size) heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 small zucchini or yellow squash, sliced into thin rounds
1 cup grated Parrano cheese
6 fresh basil leaves
Black pepper

In a pot, bring water to a boil. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano to water. Stir in polenta and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cover for 3 minutes. Transfer cooked polenta to mixing bowl. Let cool for five minutes. Mix in 1/2 cup grated Parrano cheese.

Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Spoon cheesy polenta onto baking sheet and spread into 10" round with a thickness of about a 1/2 inch. Cover baking sheet with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator. Let chill for an hour to let the polenta set. 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Remove baking sheet from the fridge. Using a spoon, spread 1 teaspoon olive oil over the top of the polenta crust. Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until it begins to crisp around the edges. Remove from oven and top with sliced tomato and squash. Sprinkle 1 cup of Parrano cheese over the pizza. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.  Bake for another 10-12 minutes or until the cheese has melted and begins to bubble. Remove from oven and add fresh basil before serving.