inspiration-driven kitchen: chicken pesto pizza

With this, I begin inspiration-driven kitchen. One part what I cook, one part how it is shared. Stirred or shaken, steamed or baked or sautéed. Your preference.

I made this chicken pesto pizza on Saturday night. Enjoy the story.

Early spring brings this yearning for freshness. Fresh basil, specifically. Too early in spring for anything to grow, but too late in winter to wholeheartedly embrace a braise or a stew.

In lieu of fresh basil, and with it fresh pesto, I resort to this:

Grateful, forever, to Broke Ass Gourmet for her fantastic pizza dough recipe. The first few times I prepared it, I found the end product a little sticky. But floured fingertips fixed that. I’m even more successful when I prepare it in the breadmaker. It’s foolproof.

Breadmaker credit where credit is due, by the way, to my parents. I’ve gained some kitchen gems from their basement: ice cream maker, breadmaker, retro mixing bowls . . . the list goes on. If you’re a parent, harbor a little treasure in your basement and your kids will thank you for it.

Another gem makes its debut: the pizza stone. I preheat this, along with the oven to 300 degrees.

The magazines and books and blogs recommend a pizza peel for dough and topping prep, then sliding it onto the fully-heated pizza stone. No pizza peel in our kitchen, so I improvise. In my not-professional experience, heating the stone three-quarters of the way and then prepping the pizza works. Haven’t eaten a doughy pizza yet, anyway.

I remove the stone from the oven and increase the temp to 475. And then I conservatively sprinkle cornmeal on the stone, and roll the dough immediately. A lightly-floured rolling pin (and fingers) helps.

And in a swift move from right-wing to left-wing, I very, very liberally dribble pesto across the dough.

Recycling some chicken breast from dinner a few nights ago helps things along. But if I didn’t? Slice up chicken, any chicken, and pre-cook.

I slice fresh mozzarella and I don’t have enough. (That’s what happens if you like cheese, friends. You suddenly don’t have enough.) So I sub in some shredded mozzarella.

Public service announcement . . . Never, ever, ever buy something called “mozzarella product.” Cheese is one of those things that just should never be faked or subbed. Buy real cheese. Thanks.

Into the oven at 475 and Mr. S. and I sip our cocktails. We’re watching the Big 12 Championship tonight, with our beloved Alma Mater Missouri Tigers. In our home, we bleed black and gold. (No hatred towards Baylor, though. We don’t mind the Bears.)

And the timer dings — 10 minutes — and the pizza is almost ready. I have this tendency to under-time things, check them and add a minute and check them and add a minute. Overdone cannot be un-done, am I right?

Bon Appetit’s March issue took my pizza-creating to a new level. So per their recommendation, I take the pizza out of the oven and immediately sprinkle freshly cracked pepper, Kosher salt, red pepper and oregano.

And a little fresh parmesan never hurt anyone.

We cut ourselves a slice and toast once again to our Tigers. What a way to exit the Big 12! Excited for our new SEC stomping grounds. We hear football will be tougher, basketball will be easier.

Over our pizza, we chat. We celebrate. We connect. Isn’t that what a meal ought to do?

What did you cook this weekend? Eat this weekend? And how did you connect over it?

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2 thoughts on “inspiration-driven kitchen: chicken pesto pizza

  1. That looks absolutely scrumptious! Missouri is going SEC? How’d I miss that 🙂 I’m a Kentucky girl…who cheers for the blue, but live in Louisville and love the Cardinals too…I’m an anomaly here. 🙂

  2. I’m definitely going to try this. Not brave enough to make my own crust though. I will stick to a Boboli crust. We have homemade pizza at our house at least once a week. Yum! I would have to say pizza is my fav food!

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