When I posted my first recipe for home-made pizza I talked about my on again off again love affair … with pizza. Now that I have been making home-made pizza my love affair is going strong and I cannot stop! I’m addicted!! Making pizza is so much fun! Pizza is so versatile and as far as toppings go … anything goes! This is one of my favorite pizzas! Try it and see for yourself! Enjoy!
Basic Pizza Dough
- ½ cup warm water (about 110°)
- 1 envelope (2 ¼ tsp.) instant yeast
- 1 ¼ cups water, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing the bowl
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.
Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. 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, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.
To bake, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 500° for at least 30 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form both pieces of dough into smooth, round balls and cover 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 and keeping the other covered, shape the dough and transfer to a pizza peel or round of parchment dusted with semolina or cornmeal. Top as desired. Slide the dough onto the pizza stone. Bake until the crust edges brown and cheese is golden brown in spots, about 8 to 12 minutes. Repeat with remaining ball of dough or freeze for later use.
Chicken Pesto Pizza
For the pesto:
You can use store-bought pesto, although I prefer home-made pesto – the taste is much better and it is a breeze to make.
Pesto alla Genovese
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2004
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts, toasted
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, salt, and pepper and process for a few seconds until the basil is chopped. Add the cheese, pine nuts, and garlic and, while the processor is running, add the oil in a thin, steady stream until a mostly smooth sauce is formed. Transfer pesto to a bowl and set aside. (Note: Pesto may be made 1 day in advance and kept, refrigerated, in an airtight container, until ready to use. If making in advance, be sure to cover the top of the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent the pesto from darkening. Pesto may also be frozen in the same manner in small quantities for use at a later date.) Note: I freeze pesto in an ice-cube tray and then pop them into a zip lock bag. I had almost a full bag of frozen pesto cubes from my basil this past summer. It thaws quickly for use!
For the pizza:
1/2 batch basic pizza dough (enough for 1 pizza), at room temperature
Olive oil, for brushing
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Grilled chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (about one chicken breast)
Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
To make the pizza, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Place a pizza stone in the oven while it is preheating, and let it heat up for at least 30 minutes. Place a round of parchment paper the size of your pizza stone on a work surface and lightly sprinkle it with cornmeal. Place the pizza dough in the center and roll it out into a large round using a lightly floured rolling pin, or a pulling/stretching motion with floured hands (I use both). Leave an approximately 1-inch border that is thicker around the edges for the crust. Lightly brush this outer edge of the crust with olive oil. Spread a thin layer of pesto on the pizza crust using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese. Top with grilled chicken pieces and sliced cherry tomatoes. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.
Carefully transfer the parchment round to the preheated pizza stone. Place in the oven and bake until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 12-15 minutes. Slice and serve immediately.
Dough and Pizza Source: Annie’s Eats