Chicken Pesto Pizza

I was at the library last week, one of my favorite places in the world, and picked up a pretty looking pizza cookbook, Truly, Madly Pizza by Suzanne Lenzer. As you may or may not know, making pizza at home is one of my all-time favorite dinners. It is always delicious, and if the dough is already made it's actually a really quick and easy dinner. So it makes sense then that I love looking at pizza cookbooks, but usually I just flip through them for inspiration. Something about this particular book however intrigued me. Her dough sounded a little different, and used a different method than any of my previous recipes and my interest was peaked; I decided to take the book home and get a closer look. As soon as I got home I delved a little deeper into the book and very quickly was in the kitchen whipping up her pizza dough recipe. 

The verdict? I have made two pizzas now, not a large sample size I realize, but both of them turned out pretty amazing. I don't know if I can say for sure that this dough is extra good, or I just got lucky and turned out a couple of fabulous pizzas, but what I can say is that I plan on making another batch of dough ASAP so I can find out!! Until then, enjoy this simple, but always fantastic recipe for chicken pesto pizza. 

I only managed to snap one, that's right one single picture, of this awesome pizza, but it was too pretty, and the finished pizza too delicious, not to share. Hopefully I'll have some other pizzas to share very soon...!

Chicken Pesto Pizza
From Delectably Mine

  • Perfect pizza dough (recipe below), or your own favorite pizza dough
  • Leftover chicken, dark meat preferred, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 2-3 tablespoons pesto (homemade if you have it) 
  • 3-4 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

The morning you are planning to make pizza, take dough out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to slowly thaw. When you are ready to make dinner, place a pizza stone or a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 550 degrees, or as hot as it will go (unfortunately my oven only goes to 500 degrees) and let it preheat for at least 30-45 minutes, a hour is better if you have time.  

Twenty to thirty minutes before shaping the pizza, pull the dough out of the fridge and let come to room temperature while you prepare the toppings. 

When ready, working with the dough in your hands, gently begin to stretch the dough into a circular shape, pressing your fist into the center of the dough and pulling at the edges with your other hand. With both hands, stretch the dough, being careful not to tear it. Working in a circular motion, pull the thicker edges of the dough outward, letting gravity help you. Continue to stretch the dough until it's relatively even thickness (the edges will be thicker - that's okay) and you have the size you want. 

Dust pizza peel generously with cornmeal and carefully lay the shaped pizza crust onto the peel (alternately you can use parchment paper and slide the whole thing, parchment and all, right onto the stone or baking sheet). Top the pizza with the pesto, followed by fresh mozzarella and then the chicken. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt if desired and brush the crust with olive oil. Slide pizza off peel and onto your heated stone or baking sheet. Bake until the crust is golden and and cheese is bubbling and just beginning to brown, 6-10 minutes. 

Slide pizza off stone and onto a cutting board or plate. Let rest a few minutes (if you can) before cutting. 

Perfect Pizza Dough
From Truly, Madly Pizza by Suzanne Lenzer

  • 390 grams bread flour (about 2.75 cups)
  • 1/4 ounce active dry yeast (about 2.5 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (about 40 grams)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2-3 tablespoons cornmeal

Put the flour, yeast and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal S-balde and turn the machine on. With the machine running, pour the oil through the feed tube, then add the water in a slow, steady stream. By adding the water slowly, you can watch the dough come together and you'll get a sense of whether you should add more or whether it's too wet - it should look pliable and smooth after a minute or so of processing (the more water you can add and still be able to handle the dough without it sticking to you hands, the better it will be). Continue to process for 2 to 3 minutes (the dough should form a rough ball and ride around in the processor). The finished dough should be soft, slightly sticky and elastic. If too dry, add a bit more water; if too wet, a tablespoon or so more flour.

Lay a 12-inch-long piece of plastic wrap on a clean work surface. Work the dough into a rectangle on the plastic, about 8 inches long and 6 inches wide. Press your fingers into the top of the dough all over, making indentations as though it were a focaccia. Fold the left third of the dough over (as you would a letter) and repeat the indentations. Fold the right third over and make the indentations again. Cover the folded dough with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes.
Cut the dough in half, form each piece into a neat ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer. The morning before you want to make pizza, transfer the dough to the refrigerator to thaw.

Note: You can use the dough right away, but you'll find the texture of the crust will be a bit breadier and the flavor less complex (but still very tasty).