Chicken Pesto Pizza

I don’t have too much to say about Chicken Pesto Pizza, except that its really, really, really good.  I make my own pesto and pizza dough (the recipes are below), so it tastes extra fresh.  If you can still find them, use fresh tomatoes.  This is something you can whip together on a Friday night and really impress your friends, boyfriend, husband, sister, kids, or for whomever you may be cooking.  And, if its just you, eat the whole thing.  I would.  I seriously would.

Do you like my timer?  Look at the look of excitement on his face!  He knows what’s coming!!

Chicken Pesto Pizza

For the dough:

Adapted from Annies Eats

1/2 C warm water

1 env. instant yeast

1 1/4 C water

2 tb extra virgin olive oil

4 C whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting

1 1/2 tsp salt

olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for bowl

Directions:

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.  Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes.  Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.  

Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed.  Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms.  Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook.  Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.  Press the dough to deflate it.

To bake, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven.  Heat the oven to 500° for at least 30 minutes.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  Form both pieces of dough into smooth, round balls and cover with a damp cloth.  Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.

Working with one piece of dough and keeping the other covered, shape the dough and transfer to a pizza peel or round of parchment dusted with semolina or cornmeal.  Top as desired.  Slide the dough onto the pizza stone. Bake until the crust edges brown and cheese is golden brown in spots, about 8 to 12 minutes.  Repeat with remaining ball of dough or freeze for later use.

For the Pesto:  

Yields 4 C

Adapted from Ina Garten

5 C basil

1/2 C pine nuts

3 Tb garlic, chopped

1 1/2 C olive oil

1 C freshly grated parmesan

Directions:

Place pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, parmesan and basil in a blender.  Puree until smooth.  Use right away or freeze with a thin film of olive oil on the top.

For the Pizza:

1/2 recipe of pizza dough, see above

1-2 C of pesto, depending on your taste

1 cooked chicken breast, chopped into bite size pieces

1 C grape tomatoes, cut in half

2 C mozzerella, part-skim

1/2  C parmesan cheese

Preheat  oven to 500.

Place pizza stone on bottom 1/3 of oven.  

After rolling out the dough, transfer to a pizza peel or parchment paper.  Spread pesto to about 1/2 inch of the edge.  Place chicken and tomatoes on to pesto.  Cover with mozzerella cheese.  Sprinkle parmesan on top.  Move to pizza stone and bake for 8-12 minutes, or until cheese begins to brown.  Let cool 5 minutes before eating.

 

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