Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chicken Pesto Pizza

Pizza. Need I say more?

I made this for dinner on Saturday night. We had a fun going out to dinner with some of my favorite people on Friday night so we stayed in last night. 

I did plan on it. 

I was watching the grocery budget and wanted to use up ingredients we already had. I only had to purchase the store bought pesto.

This pizza dough is amazing. The original recipe is called Portobello Pesto Pizza and uses fresh cremini mushrooms (baby portobellos), but I used up some jarred mushrooms I had on hand. I also added some garlic butter to the crust as soon as it came out of the oven. Here's another great pizza crust if you like cornmeal in your crust.

Chicken Pesto Pizza

Makes Two Pizza Crusts:
  • ½ cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 1¼ cups water, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
Toppings for One Pizza:
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced, divided
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped and sauteed for about 5 minutes
  • 6 oz jarred mushrooms, drained or cremini mushrooms, sauteed with the red onions in butter
  • 4-5 heaping tablespoons of pesto
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted

Make the Pizza Dough
Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, I used 2 1/2 tsp active yeast from the jar and it took about 15 minutes to proof. Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.
Process the bread flour and salt in a large food processor, pulsing to combine. Continue pulsing while pouring the liquid mixture (holding back a few tablespoons) through the feed tube. If the dough does not readily form a ball, add the remaining liquid and continue to pulse until a ball forms. Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds longer.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand for a few strokes to form a smooth, round ball. Put the dough into a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place bowl in a warm area in your house. Let rise until doubled in size, 2 hours.
Assemble the Pizza: 
Heat oven to 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball and cover it plastic wrap sprayed with pam. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes. (You only need one ball of dough for this recipe, so at this point you can wrap one ball of dough in plastic wrap, put in a ziploc bag and freeze for another day – just move it to the refrigerator the morning you plan to use it). Use it in the next two weeks.
While the oven is preheating and the dough is resting, prepare the chicken, mushrooms and onions. In a heated skillet, drizzle some olive oil and add the chicken. Set timer for two minutes to brown. Then cover and set timer for 6 minutes. Chop onion and garlic while chicken is cooking. Flip the chicken breast and repeat. Set cooked chicken on cutting board to rest. Add onions and mushrooms (if using fresh mushrooms) to that same skillet to saute. Cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the mushrooms have released all of their liquid and both the mushrooms and onions are soft and browned, 10 to 15 minutes (takes more time for mushrooms.) Add in two cloves of chopped garlic to saute in the last 30 seconds. Set mixture aside.
Flatten the dough ball into a disk using the palms of your hands. Starting at the center of the disk and working outward, use your fingertips to press the dough until it is about ½-inch thick. Be gentle. Don't rip the dough. Holding the center in place, stretch the dough outward. Rotate the dough a quarter turn and stretch again. Repeat until the dough reaches a diameter of 12 inches. Put olive oil on both sides of crust and place on pizza stone. Punch holes in crust with a fork. Shred the chicken.
Spread the pesto over the pizza dough, just as you would pizza sauce, leaving a ½-inch border uncovered. Top with shredded provolone. Then add the chicken. Spread the mushroom and onion mixture evenly over the pesto, and then top with the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.

Melt two tablespoons of butter in microwave to make garlic butter. Add one clove of chopped garlic to the butter.
Bake until the crust edges brown and the cheese is golden brown in spots, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven. Baste edges of crust with garlic butter. I did it every three minutes for about 12 minutes to let pizza set and congeal before I cut it.


I used a pizza stone from Pampered Chef.
This one is not pampered chef, but I do like the handles and it's red.
Emile Henry:

Happy New Year! What is your resolution this year? Last year mine was to draw my eyebrows on every day for work. And I did it! I think I may try for something serious and financial this year. Like no credit card purchases.