Pesto Chicken Pizza

This pizza is the best thing ever.  Really.  First, the pizza dough is the easiest pizza dough recipe ever, and also delicious of course.  And it provides a blank canvas for your wildest culinary dreams.  There are infinite variations.  And it is really difficult to make something that doesn't taste amazing.  Dan and I love to make this.  We have made pizza with sopressata and mozzarella, bbq chicken pizza, pizza margherita and now pesto chicken.  Every time we make it we're sure we have reached the pinnacle of pizza excellence and then we out do ourselves. 

This dough is just my style.  It is from the wonderful cooking blog but I think of it as Katie's recipe because she is the person who introduced me to it.  Katie is one of my brilliant co-workers, most of whom are also great cooks (or married to great cooks) which makes team potlucks extra enjoyable.

In this recipe, you mix all the dry ingredients together.  Then you add all the we ingredients.  This is basically what I do with every recipe anyway (or visa versa).

Then you mix it all up and knead it.  I knead it in the bowl.  Seriously.  I told you, best thing ever.

Then you let it rise.  And daydream about all the delicious things you could put on it.  For this one, we're doing chicken, pesto, toasted pine nuts and goat cheese.  We bought the pesto from the store because that makes the pizza even easier.

One thing that would make this pizza less awesome is if it made you sick, so make sure to cook the chicken all the way before hand.  I added some garlic salt and basil and salt to give it more flavor.

We toasted some pine nuts to put on too.  I wanted to add some spinach but Dan's exact response was "meh" so we didn't.  You are welcome to though.  Or thinly sliced red onions or roasted red peppers would probably be great too. 

I have a pizza stone.  You should get one too!  If the pizza stones seem to expensive, go to a garden store and get the bottom of a terra cota pot for ~$5.  It will make your pizza crust taste that much better.  You have to heat the pizza stone up in the oven first, and transferring the pizza to the stone can prove challenging (unless you go out and buy one of those wooden paddle things).  But I put the rolled out dough on parchment paper and slide the whole thing onto the stone and it has worked perfectly every time so far.  And into the oven with it.  It cooks in 10 minutes.  But be warned, it is very hot and you need to let it cool a little before you eat it.  I warn you because you will pull it out of the oven and it will look so delicious you will want to eat it right that very instant.  But you will burn your mouth.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Chicken Pesto Pizza

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps active dry yeast
3/4 - 1 cup lukewarm water
1 3/4 tablespoon olive oil

Store bought pesto
Goat cheese
Chicken breast or thighs, cut into bite size pieces
salt, garlic powder, basil

1. Stir dry ingredients, including yeast, in a large bowl. Add water and olive oil, stirring mixture into as close to a ball as you can.
2. Knead dough 1 - 2 minutes (on lightly floured surface or in bowl).
3. Lightly oil bowl, turn dough to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for an hour or two, until doubled in size.
4. Gently press out air in dough on a floured surface. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit another 20 minutes.
5. Pre-heat pizza stone (or baking sheet) in oven to 450 degrees.
6. Cook chicken in pan with seasonings until cooked through (about 10 min).
7. Roll-out pizza dough and put on parchment paper. Spread pesto on crust. Add chicken, crumbled goat cheese and pine nuts.
8. Slide pizza onto pizza stone with parchment paper.
9. Cook for about 10 minutes.
From Smitten Kitchen

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