Chicken Pesto Pizza

This particular pizza is an idea that has been brewing in my mind for quite a while.  Unfortunately, due to my long work hours this month I had a hard time making it happen.  But the idea just kept nagging at me and pretty soon it was all I could think of.  I had to have this pizza!  One night after we had already eaten dinner, I prepped everything in advance.  I made the pizza crust, the pesto, and grilled some chicken so that they were all ready to go for the next night.  It actually made for a very quick dinner with everything prepped – just preheat the pizza stone, assemble the pizza and bake.  

I’m not surprised that this completely fulfilled my expectations.  I have posted about this crust before – it is phenomenal.  It would taste wonderful with just about any toppings, but this combination was awesome!  I don’t think anything will ever top margherita pizza with tomatoes and basil from our own garden, but this is sure to be a favorite in our rotation.  The pesto recipe makes about twice what we used for the pizza, but I made the full batch because it’s always nice to have pesto on hand.  I’ll be posting another recipe using the remaining pesto soon.

Chicken Pesto Pizza
For the pesto:
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 medium garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
7 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

For the pizza:
1/2 batch perfect pizza crust dough (enough for 1 pizza), at room temperature
Olive oil, for brushing
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Grilled chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1/2 of one chicken breast)
Cherry tomatoes, sliced into thirds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

To make the pesto, toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat until just golden and fragrant, 4-5 minutes.  Set aside.  Add the garlic to the empty skillet and toast, shaking occasionally, until the cloves are fragrant and their color deepens slightly, about 7 minutes.  Transfer the cloves to a cutting board; cool, peel and chop.  Place the basil in a heavy-duty gallon-sized plastic bag.  Pound the bag with a rolling pin until all the leaves are bruised.  

Combine the pine nuts, garlic, basil, olive oil and 1/2 tsp. salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir in the Parmesan cheese, and adjust the salt to taste.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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.  

Source: pizza crust and pesto adapted from Baking Illustrated

29 Responses

  1. Ooh one of my favorite kinds of pizzas! I haven’t made homemade pizza in a while but I think it just got put on the list!

  2. This pizza looks DELICIOUS! I’ll definitely give it a try, as DH and I are huge fans of pesto and pizza…

    And, congrats with med school!

  3. This is one of my favorite types of pizza!!! You may have inspired me to make that GF pizza dough recipe so that I can make myself some!

  4. Sounds wonderful – the nutty pesto and the savoury of the cheese and chicken…yum! During the summer months, you should try cooking the pizza on the BBQ, it adds a nice smokiness to it as well.

  5. Your pizza looks delicious!

  6. this looks to die for!!!!!

  7. Funnily enough hubby and I were talking about making our own pizza and this looks like the perfect starting point! Its making my mouth water just looking at the pictures.

  8. I love pesto pizza, but haven’t had it in a long time…you’ve inspired me to go make some now!

  9. I did a pesto pizza recently too, but I used store-bought crust. I’m going to have to give your dough recipe a try. Thanks!

  10. I have never made pesto before but have always wanted to try it. I think this would be a perfect recipe to try, it looks soooo yummy!

  11. I love pesto on pizza! looks delicious!

  12. This is definitely making it’s way to Sunday Pizza Night at our house!

  13. This looks delicious!! I will definitely be putting it in my rotation soon!

  14. This looks wonderful! What a great idea for a pizza! This will be perfect this summer for a easy meal.

  15. Mmm, I used to order chicken pesto pizza at least once a week in college. Yum!

  16. Will be making this later this week to use leftovers from my rotisserie chicken. I may wait on the basil pesto until summer and make a poblano pesto instead w/ pepitas instead of pine nuts. Your photo is delicious.

  17. Now that is my kind of Pizza – Forget take out!!!

  18. Yummy! In college on of the eating places on campus made a chicken pesto pizza with summer squash and zucchini. This looks great, Annie!

  19. This looks delicious! I love chicken and pesto.

  20. I’ll definitely be trying this one!

  21. sounds like a fabulous combo!

  22. We used to live next door to a brick oven pizza & sandwich place. My favorite sub was the chicken pesto with mozz and tomatoes. Such a great combination. I often make pizza like that, too! I really need to try out this dough.

  23. I recently had chicken pesto pizza at Sauce but your version looks much much better!

  24. We had this for lunch today, on whole wheat crust. My husband loved the combo. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Made this tonight for a belated mother’s day meal. It was a success! Everyone enjoyed the pizza. Got that delicious pesto recipe under my belt as well. Thanks for an awesome, simple, recipe!

  26. Using pesto on a pizza sounds really good!

  27. We loved this pizza! Thank you for sharing!

  28. This was my first time making homemade pizza and what a big success! YUM

  29. I made this pizza and it was SO good! It was my first time making homemade pizza crust and homemade pesto, and I’m definitely never going back to any store-bought stuff. It came out looking exactly like the picture, and it tasted sooo good. Definitely making this again!

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