Earlier this summer, I had a moment of weakness - well really my husband had a moment of weakness. He said that I had been pining over a pizza/baking stone and an immersion blender for so long that I should just get them. (I had thought I could just wait until my birthday in October but I don't think he wanted to listen to me talk about them for the next 2 months!) So, we grabbed two of our trusty blue coupons from the car trunk (you know the store I'm talking about!) and made these purchases. A few days later when I mentioned it to my mom, she told me that she never uses her pizza stone or immersion blender and I could just have hers! Thankfully, mine were still in the store bag with the receipt safely tucked inside! I actually wrote this post before the Roasted Tomato Soup post to announce the immersion blender, but I forgot and posted the soup first, so I spilled the beans - oh well! :)
One of the main reasons I wanted a pizza stone is because this wonderful pizza crust is supposed to be baked on one. While I thought it was completely delicious baked on a regular cookie sheet, I couldn't help but wonder how different it would be if the recipe was followed. Plus, I had the perfect pizza recipe to try. I've made a Chicken Pesto Pizza before, but then I saw this on Annie's Eats and loved her combination of chicken with tomatoes. I had some homegrown tomatoes from my parents' neighbor that were just begging to be used.
I decided to incorporate the method from this pizza for making the chicken. Because of my nut allergy, I had to make a pinenut-less pesto, and after some googling, I discovered the French Pistou - a combination of olive oil, basil, and garlic (and never pinenuts); hence the Chicken Pistou Pizza was born!
By the way, if you were wondering if the pizza stone improved the crust, the answer is YES! :)
Chicken Pistou Pizza
1/2 batch pizza crust, or enough crust for 1 large pizza
1 large chicken breast, diced in small pieces
1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus more for cooking chicken
1 Tablespoon Italian or Pizza seasoning, plus extra for sprinkling
2-3 small, vine-ripened tomatoes, juice and seeds removed, diced
Sun-dried tomatoes, optional
Pesto or pistou (see below)
Parmesan cheese, if desired
1. Marinate the chicken: Place diced chicken in a resealable plastic bag filled with 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning and 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
2. Place pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500F.
3. Cook the chicken in a pan with some olive oil, if necessary, until fully cooked.
4. Coat a surface liberally* with corn meal. Roll dough out into a pizza. Top with Pistou, cooked chicken, fresh and sun-dried tomatoes (if using), and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with a dash of Italian or Pizza Seasoning and top with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
5. Remove the baking stone from the oven and carefully transfer the pizza onto it. Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is melted.
*This is very important. I underscored the need for corn meal and suffered the consequences. It took 3 of us to transfer the pizza from to the baking stone! I then did some research about pizza making and read that corn meal is the 'ball bearings of pizza making' - great analogy! My advice - use a LOT!
Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats
4 cloves of garlic (I think I used 2 to make sure it wasn't too garlicky)
1/2 teaspoon salt *Mine was pretty salty, maybe start out with less!
~1 cup slightly packed basil leaves
olive oil (~4 Tablespoons, give or take)
grated Parmesan cheese to taste, optional
1. Crush the garlic using a mortar and pestle. Add the salt and use the pestle to make a garlic paste.
2. Add torn basil leaves and olive oil and continue using the pestle to make the pistou.
3. Transfer mixture to a mini food processor to achieve consistency, if desired.
Source: Epicurean Table