From Scratch, With Love

A New Pizza Adventure For Me

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In yet another attempt to use up all that chicken I bought, I made Pesto Chicken Pizza.

“Wow Andrea,” you’re saying, “that pizza looks like it might be round and not square.”  Truth, reader.  Truth.  I found a pizza stone on sale and bought it on a whim.  No regrets.  My pizza is now round with nicely crisp crust.  I still need to figure out the ways the stone can be used, but I’m very excited.  I think I’m also going to have to play around with temperature, because I think the stone can take a hotter oven than my old pans (read: cookie sheets).

So, in an effort to use up a chicken breast, and because pizza’s my favoritist thing ever to make, and because I now grow basil, I decided a pesto chicken pizza would be just lovely this Friday evening.  It’s not too hard – it takes about an hour and a half, including making the dough (remember when I shared my method of making dough?).  The ingredients are simple and summery, especially if you have some leftover chicken lying around (in the fridge, please, not the bed).  If you don’t have leftover chicken, you can roast a chicken breast in the oven for about 20 minutes at 425, basted with some olive oil.  It will be somewhat juicy because it’s fresh, and you’ll have to wait a few minutes before you can cut it.  I used both mozzerella and Robusto cheese.  I found Robusto at Whole Foods when I asked the lady behind the cheese counter for a parmesan-like cheese that’s a little sharper, for the Corn Risotto that I made a couple of weeks ago.  You can also use parmesan, or just more mozzerella.  Cheese, however, is not the main event in this pizza, so use it sparingly.

Pesto Chicken Pizza (Makes 2 generous servings or 3-4 moderate servings)

Prepare enough pizza dough for one 14 inch pizza.  You can also make this on pita bread, for individual pizza snacks.

While the dough is rising, make the pesto.  It’s simple.

In a 350 degree oven, toast about a tablespoon of chopped walnuts or pine nuts for 5 minutes, or until fragrant.  Let cool.

Mince a clove or two of garlic, depending on how big you are on garlic.  Of this garlic, place about a teaspoon in a small bowl.  Reserve the rest for the pizza.  Roughly chop about 1/4 cup of basil leaves and a sprig of parsley (optional).  Add to the bowl.  Grate a tablespoon of parmesan or robusto cheese.  Add to the bowl.  Add a tablespoon of olive oil.  Finely chop the toasted nuts and add to the bowl.  Add a pinch of salt.  Stir the mixture together with a spoon until well blended.  I tried to blend it with an immersion blender, but I think there was too little of it to really be blended.  You can try, or just try to chop everything nice and small and mix well.

Slice 1 cooked chicken breast into thin slices, then slice those slices so that you have bite-sized 1/2 inch squares.  It’s important to have the pieces bite-sized so the pizza’s easy to eat.  You don’t want to drag all the toppings off the pizza by biting into a piece of chicken that’s too big!  Add the chicken to the bowl and stir so that the chicken is coated in the pesto mixture.  Let it marinate, covered, in the fridge until you’re ready to make the pizzas.

Note: this pesto chicken, I suspect, would be really good in a sandwich or with pasta, so feel free to make double or triple the amount I have here and reserve some for later.

Okay.  Dough is rising.  Chicken is marinating.  You can marinate as well, since you probably have some time to spare.  Drool over this ice cream recipe (that’s what I did).  Or you can start preparing the rest of the toppings.  Very thinly slice one medium tomato.  If I had had an onion, I would have thinly sliced part of it as well.  That probably would have been delicious.  Oh well.  Try it and let me know if it is.  Grate 1/4 cup of robusto or parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup of mozzerella cheese (or used the pre-grated mozzerella.  That’s what I did.)

Preheat the oven to 450.  Grease a cookie sheet, pizza pan, or place a pizza stone in the oven.

Briefly knead the dough and let it rise again while the oven preheats.  When the dough is ready, spread it onto your pizza pan, trying to get it even.  Sprinkle the minced garlic on the dough.  Evenly cover the dough with both cheeses, then scatter the tomato slices over it.  Top with the chicken.  Bake for 8-15 minutes, depending on the type of pan you used (more for the pizza stone, less for a thin cookie sheet).  It’s ready when the crust is crispy and is starting to brown if you lift it from the pan with a spatula.  Let cool for a minute or two and slice.

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Written by poperatzii

July 9, 2010 at 9:38 pm

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