Pizza Gialla: Peppery Cornbread with Cheese from Southern Italy

This ‘yellow pizza’, as its name implies, is a savory, rich and gluten-free cake that is often added to vegetable and greens’ soups in the Italian south.

From my Mediterranean Hot and Spicy




Unlike American cornbread here the cornmeal cooks in milk until almost as thick as polenta, and then it is mixed with cheese, eggs and hot peppers. The hearty cornbread is delicious on its own, but I also like to serve it along grilled vegetables. Dice any leftover bread, dry it in a low oven and keep in an air-tight bag to add to vegetable or bean soups, as Italians do, or mix with yogurt for a hearty breakfast.


Serves 6-8 


1 quart (1 liter) full fat milk


7 ounces (200 grams, 1  1/4 cups) coarse stone-ground yellow cornmeal or polenta grain


1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste


1/2 cup olive oil, plus more to drizzle the bread


1 pound (500 grams) mixed grated cheeses  (for example 1/2 pound pecorino or hard myzithra, 1/4 pound cheddar and 1/2 pound Greek manouri, ricotta salata or mozzarella, or any combination of spicy and sweet cheeses you like)


2-4 dried peperoncini or chile de Arbol, thinly sliced or chopped with scissors, or Maras or Aleppo pepper flakes, to taste


5 large eggs, divided


1 cup minced smoky and spicy sausage (optional)



Pour the milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over medium heat. Sprinkle the cornmeal over the milk and cook stirring for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375F (180C)


Add the olive oil to the cornmeal mixture and cook, stirring for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cheeses, the peppers and the egg yolks, one at a time, stirring to incorporate fully. If you like, stir in the minced sausage.


Beat the egg-whites to form soft peaks. Carefully fold in the cornmeal mixture with a spatula.


Line a round deep 12-inch pan with parchment paper, brush with oil and pour in the cornmeal batter. Drizzle the top with olive oil and bake for about 30 minutes, until deep golden and firm. Let cool for 10 minutes and cut pieces to serve warm or at room temperature.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.