Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Grilled Chicken Pesto Pizza


Let me tell you about this pizza. It was an ordeal. This post has been a work in process since, well, ummm, sometime last year. I can never get it to look right. I make it quite regularly, but it's not my prettiest pizza. Last time I made it for pictures, I tried shredded chicken, yellow tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella bocconcini (those little mozzarella balls). It wasn't pretty. 


What's a girl to do? Try, try again, that's what.


So, I made the dough one morning last week, planning on having it for dinner that night. The hubby and I got caught up in errands, so the dough had to wait.

Day 1.

The next day, we got so caught up in errands again that we just ate out after running around town.

Day 2.

On Day 3, I told the hubby I had to use the dough or freeze it. We decided to use it.



Day 3 started out warm and sunny, around 85º. Perfect grilling weather and perfect picture taking weather. I went about my day, planning on starting the pizza work around 3 in the afternoon. By 1, I was doing some organizational work in the basement. I made my way upstairs at 3, only to find a full-on thunderstorm that appeared as if from nowhere.

I was flabbergasted. 'Why does a storm always appear when I plan on using sunlight??' I lamented to myself.  I decided to grill anyway. I ran out to the barbecue to start it, and immediately booked it back to the house. That's how I grilled that day. Run out, scrub off the grill, throw the chicken on, and scurry like mad back to the house. Run back to the grill, flip, sprint, repeat. Needless to say,  I got soaked. I was happy when the chicken was done, and I could say "Goodbye!" to being outside that day.


I moved on to the next problem, the pesto. The problem being I thought I had pine nuts, only to discover this was not so.

Sigh.

I went over the nuts I had in the house (I was not leaving the house during the Great Flood) and settled on pistachios. Surprisingly enough, Pistachio Pesto is goooooood. With the price of pine nuts these days ($15.99 for 8 ounces at Kroger!!!), I think I might be subbing the nuts out a lot more often. Mama ain't paying that much for nuts. Here's the recipe for Homemade Pesto. All I did was substitute pistachios for pine nuts. I say, experiment with other nuts. I've tried walnuts and peanuts in pesto, and they both work fabulously. Without making my wallet mutinous. 


That dough I let sit for 3 days? Delish! I love letting the dough rest for long periods. It develops a flavor, elasticity, and saltiness that is beyond compare. The hubby raves about it every time.


Once I'd conquered the chicken and the pesto, the rest was downhill. A reader once emailed me to ask how I roll out my dough. A couple of years ago I found a video on YouTube that featured a technique that was like moving your hands around the wheel of a car. It's hard to explain, so you could just watch the video (here's the link). At any rate, I've been using that technique ever since.


The hubby and I like our pizza browned and blistered. It makes for a thin, crispy crust. It does not make for pretty pictures, however. So, although this isn't the best looking pizza, I highly recommend it. It is delicious. So yummy. The pesto, the melty cheese, the moistness of the grilled chicken. It all works so well. 

I actually ate this cold after taking pictures, and I still exclaimed over it. It's gotta be amazing hot from the oven. 


That's all for today folks! I hope y'all had a fabulous weekend and a not-so-rough Monday :) 

Until next time...


Ingredients (serves 4):

1 large chicken breast
olive oil, salt, pepper
1 tbsp cornmeal
3/4 - 1 cup Homemade Pesto
3 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups mozzarella, shredded
garnish- small basil leaves (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 550º, placing pizza stone on top rack. Allow to preheat for 1 hour. Take pizza dough from fridge, allow to come to room temperature. 
2. Prepare chicken- brush chicken breast with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Heat a gas grill over high heat. When warm, scrape any leftover remnants off grill. Place chicken breast on grill and close grill. Turn middle burner down to medium, and turn the outer burner's to low. Grill chicken for 4 minutes, then flip. Grill another 4 minutes, and then flip. Grill for 2 minutes, flip. Grill for a final 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Place chicken on a plate and allow to rest while you prepare the rest of the pizza. Right before working the pizza dough, chop or shred the chicken (your preference).
3. Remove pizza stone from oven, place on the rack it comes with, or potholders. Work pizza dough into a large circle. Sprinkle cornmeal on pizza stone, then transfer dough to the the stone. Spread pesto onto dough. Top with tomatoes and chicken. Sprinkle mozzarella over the top.
4. Turn oven off. Turn broiler on. Place pizza stone on top rack of oven, and broil for 5-7 minutes, or until spots have been to brown and cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven, garnish with basil leaves if using. Slice, and serve immediately.



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