Thank goodness I live on a street that looks dreadful enough at night that wayward Halloween characters always stay away. Keeps the puppies from going crazy, which in turn keeps me from going crazy. Man, that’s a benefit that Carlos the Realtor never mentioned, so I guess I should buy him a coffee the next time I see him. (Hmmm…maybe I should let him remind me of this post; it’ll show that someone actually reads this blog.)
But enough about me, let’s talk chicken pesto pizza.
I use a pizza dough recipe from Wolfgang Puck. Makes 4 small, 2 medium, or 1 big pizza.
3 C. Flour
1 tsp salt
1 TBspn honey
2 TBspn Olive Oil
3/4 C. cool water
1 package dry yeast
1/4 C. warm water (100 – 110 degrees)
1. Combine salt, honey, olive oil, 3/4 cup cool water in a small bowl. Mix well.
2. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. Use a thermometer to ensure temp is no higher than 110. Let sit for 10 minutes.
3. Put the 3 cups of flour into a large bowl or on a large counter or cutting board. Create the classic volcano, complete with crater. This will come in handy.
4. Pour the yeast into the other liquid ingredients. Mix gently.
5. Pour the liquid into the crater and start mixing. If it’s too sticky, add a touch of flour, but not too much.
6. Once the dough has started to become a single mass, turn it out onto a flour-dusted counter or cutting board and start kneading.
7. With the dough ball now smooth, put it into a buttered bowl, Cover with a towel and let rest 30 minutes.
8. Punch down, roll into a tight ball. Divide into smaller balls if making small or medium pizzas. Lightly dust with some cooking spray and cover with film (Saran Wrap.)
9. Refrigerate dough until one hour prior to use. Let dough raise to room temperature.
10. Using whatever technique you dare, shape into pizza. Being of German descent, I lack “tossing skills” so I put the dough ball on a pizza pan and used my French rolling pin to spread the dough out.
11. No matter how you did it, if your dough is in the shape of a pizza, you have almost succeeded. You must now “dock” the crust. Take a fork and stab the pizza, creating little holes all over the disk. This will help steam escape during baking. Makes for a much better crust.
Back at the ranch…
1/2 to 1 baked chicken breast, chopped up into small peices.
3 – 6 TBsp pesto (amount depends on how much chicken you use)
Artichoke hearts (get the stuff already prepared and marinated in oil; sold in little jars)
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 – 3 TBSpn Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
So here’s how it all works:
Take 2 cloves of garlic. Press them, putting the meat into a small glass bowl. Add 2 – 3 TBspn Olive Oil. Let steep while prepping everything else.
Shred enough mozzarella to cover the size pizza you have chosen. Shred about 1/4 of that amount of Parmesan.
Coat the chicken with the pesto.
Cover the dough with the shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Evenly distribute the pesto-chicken and red onion.
Add artichoke hearts to taste.
Drizzle the garlic-olive oil over the entire disk.
Add a bit more cheese if you want. You really can’t have too much, in my opinion.
Bake on a stone or a circular pizza pan at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until crust done and cheese melted.
Serve with a good glass of wine. I always recommend the Merlot from the Williamsburg Winery in Virginia.