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Friday, February 20, 2009

Chicken Pesto Pizza



For a few months, I've been wanting to try the pizza dough recipe from Baking Illustrated that I've heard people rave about. This weekend was finally the right time, and I am so glad I finally got to make it. My pizza stretching skills leave something to be desired, so the bottom of the crust was extra thin and the outside edge ended up quite large (good, I suppose, if you love the crust like I do!). I also had some leftover pesto in the freezer that I wanted to use up, so I searched and quickly found this recipe for Chicken Pesto Pizza on Allrecipes. We aren't ones to shy away from cheese, however, so I supplemented the fontina cheese with some mozzarella. We loved it! I found the addition of artichokes to be pure genius. :-)


I only used one third of the dough recipe, the other two thirds were wrapped well in plastic wrap and stored in a freezer bag in the freezer for another time.


Chicken Pesto Pizza
Adapted slightly from Allrecipes.com

~1/2 cup pesto basil sauce
~1 (12 inch) pizza crust (recipe follows)
~1 roasted chicken breast, chopped
~7 ounces artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
~1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese
~1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven and a baking stone to 500 degrees F for 30 minutes.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Use a chef’s knife or dough scraper to divide the dough into three pieces. Form each piece of dough into three pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball and cover it with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.When stone is ready, remove from the oven. Sprinkle lightly with cornmeal. Lay stretched pizza crust over cornmeal. Spread pesto sauce over the pizza crust. Arrange chicken pieces and artichoke hearts over the sauce, and sprinkle with cheese.
3. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until cheese is melted and lightly browned at the edges.


Pizza Dough
Source: Baking Illustrated, pages 153-155; instructions slightly adapted

Makes enough for 3 medium pizzas.

We find the food processor is the best tool for making pizza dough. However, only a food processor with a capacity of at least 11 cups can handle this much dough. You can also knead this dough by hand or in a standing mixer (see the variations that follow). Unbleached all-purpose flour can be used in a pinch, but the resulting crust will be less crisp. If you want to make pizza dough in the morning and let it rise on the counter all day, decrease the yeast to 1/2 teaspoon and let the covered dough rise at cool room temperature (about 68 degrees) until doubled in size, about 8 hours. You can prolong the rising time even further by refrigerating the covered dough for up to 16 hours and then letting it rise on the counter until doubled in size, which will take 6 to 8 hours.

1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 ounces) bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface and hands
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for oiling the bowl

1. 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.

2. Process the flour and salt in a large food processor, pulsing to combine. Continue pulsing while pouring the liquid ingredients (holding back a few tablespoons) through the feed tube. If the dough does not readily form into 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.

3. The dough will be a bit tacky, so use a rubber spatula to turn it out 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. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Use a chef’s knife or dough scraper to divide the dough into three pieces. Form each piece of dough into three pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball and cover it 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 at a time and keeping the others covered, shape the dough into a 12 inch circle. Repeat with remaining dough, or wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze in a freezer bag.

Pizza Dough Kneaded by Hand
Follow the recipe for Pizza Dough through step 1. Omit step 2 and instead combine the salt and half the flour in a deep bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and use a wooden spoon to combine. Add the remaining flour, stirring until a cohesive mass forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic 7 to 8 minutes, using as little dusting flour as possible while kneading. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and proceed with the recipe.

Pizza Dough Kneaded in a Standing Mixer
Follow the recipe for Pizza Dough through step 1. Omit step 2 and instead place the flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle. 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, cover with plastic wrap, and proceed with the recipe.

7 comments:

Katie said...

Oh good gracious, please help me from drooling all over my suit today!

Bridget said...

I've been thinking about making a pizza with chicken on it soon. Chicken, artichokes and pesto sounds pretty amazing. I might make this next week!

Joelen said...

This is one of my fave pizza topping combos I order out! Looks great!

Lisa said...

This looks really good!! I love the chicken and pesto and artichoke combo.

Colleen said...

This looks delicious! I love all the ingredients on your pizza!

Bridget said...

I made this into calzones, and they were great!

~Amber~ said...

These sound awesome! What great flavor combos.