This is one of my favorite meals to make for family and friends.  It’s so easy to prepare in advance and refrigerate, giving you time to enjoy a glass of wine and entertain while it’s baking.

Brad and his wife Emily were in their final few weeks of pregnancy and on bed rest so I decided to get in a quick visit before they delivered their daughter.  I wanted to bring a dish that didn’t require any preparation in their kitchen and something that I could pop into the oven and bake while we caught up – it was perfect.

I love supporting family, friends and my community with food.   Brings me back to my Italian roots where I grew up in a small town outside of Philadelphia where you help your neighbor in times of need by bringing food.  That’s what my Mom and Grandmother taught us.   Back then, it was a lot of rigatoni and meatballs which I still indulgent for occasional Sunday Suppers, but now I try to cook clean healthy food.   Just ask some of my neighbors –  I’ve been knocking on doors and surprising people with the craziest dishes in the East Village, Brooklyn, Beachwood Canyon and now Silverlake.   It’s really how I learned to cook and a wonderful way to get to know who lives around you.

Polenta pizza started out much thinner in a cookie sheet pan but I added so many other toppings that I had to start baking it in a casserole dish but kept calling it the same thing.  You can play with the ingredients and create the combination that tastes best to you.   This is good one to try…

  • 1.5 Cups Polenta
  • Mixture of Wild Mushrooms (Shiitake, Cremini, Baby Bella)
  • 1/2 Cup Pesto
  • 1/2 Cup Greek Olives or Tapenade
  • 1 Teaspoon White Truffle Oil
  • 1 Med Red Onion
  • Brie – 1/2 Wedge of Triangle
  • 1 Cup Blend of Mixed Grated Cheese – Parm, Provolone, Mozzarella
  • 1 Bunch Parsley
  • Olive Oil

Prepare the polenta first – Follow the directions on the package for 1.5 Cups of Polenta with 6 Cups of boiling water –  Stir the polenta and a teaspoon of white truffle oil into the boiling water, turn down to a simmer and quickly whisk to prevent any lumps from forming.    While it’s still hot and creamy – pour into a casserole dish.

Refrigerate polenta in the casserole dish until firm and cool.

While the polenta is cooling – chop the mushrooms and onions and saute on a med heat until they are translucent.   Season to taste with Salt and Pepper.

Once the polenta is cool – spread a layer of pesto then chopped olives or tapenade.

Spread the next layer of Cheese Blend and pieces of Brie, then add the mushroom and onion sauteed mixture.

Sprinkle the top with chopped parsley and bake on 350 degrees for 30 – 40 mins depending on your oven.    Serve warm with a mixed salad.