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Backpacker Magazine – June 2009

Recipe: Parmesan-Polenta Pizza

Improve the basic pie with cornmeal crust and fresh basil sauce.

by: Brendan Spiegel

(Photo by Justin Bailie)
(Photo by Justin Bailie)

1 cup instant polenta (coarse cornmeal)
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
5-ounce block Asiago cheese
20 cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces dried salami
1-ounce pouch dried porcini mushrooms
2-ounce pouch dried bell peppers (available at
2 sprigs fresh basil

At home
Place polenta and salt in one zip-top bag and Parmesan in another. Grate salami and pack in a third zip-top bag. Chop basil, mix with oil, and pour into a spill-proof container. Keep tomatoes in the original plastic container, but fill empty space with balled-up paper towels to keep them from getting squished in your pack.

In camp
Place mushrooms and peppers in bowl, cover with water for 30 minutes, then drain. Finely dice Asiago cheese. To make sauce, quarter tomatoes and place in a 10-inch skillet with salami and the olive oil/basil mix. Cook over medium heat for two minutes, pressing down on tomatoes with a spatula to break them down. Remove from skillet and place in a bowl. Mix polenta in another bowl with Parmesan and 1 cup water; spread dough thinly across skillet. Top with sauce, cheese, mushrooms, and peppers. Cover and cook over medium heat for five to seven minutes, until crust is crisp and browned.

Prep time 30 min

Cook time 5 min

Price $8 per serving
Weight 1 lb. per serving
Serves 2

Calories 776
Fat 45 g
Carbs 55 g
Protein 38 g

Baking Tips

  • Prevent a burned crust–and make sure your pizza cooks evenly–by rolling or spreading dough out thin, then using a spoon to press it all the way to the sides of the pan.
  • Assemble dough and toppings completely before turning on your stove. Remove from heat as soon as cheese melts.
  • Both pizzas can also be made in a backpacker oven. Spread dough evenly in pan, add toppings, and bake until crust is golden brown.


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Aug 17, 2009

I've made this twice now to rave reviews. The only suggestion I have is instead of the "instant" polenta, get the uncooked kind. It ends up being a bit more coarse, but the pizza stays together much better and can eat it fork-free. I found the instant liked to fall apart.


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