Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chicken and Artichoke Pizza with Pesto

Fall is almost here.  The days have been crisp, and I am finally getting to the point where I feel okay dipping into some of the stuff I have put up this summer.  Ever since I posted the pizza dough and pesto, I have been meaning to post the recipe that inspires both for me. 

Years ago, when I was a young chick and first married, I found a cookbook from a chicken cookoff contest at a thrift store.  In it was a recipe for a chicken and artichoke pizza with pesto.  I cannot remember the specifics of the recipe at this point.  Was the crust store-bought or homemade?  Were the artichokes in oil or water?  Was there a recipe for pesto along with it?  What I do know is that it became an instant favorite with us, and we have been having it ever since.  Now, I am not one for eating the same food over and over, so for a recipe to stick around that long is really saying something. 

Over the years, the book has been lost.  I cannot even remember its title.  I have made this pizza so many times, in various ways, and it is always great.  It has never failed me, and I don't think it will fail you either. 

You can make this pizza with a large store-bought crust or smaller, individual ones. You can also make the crust that I use from the link at the top of the post.  The same goes for the pesto.  You can purchase or make your own with my recipe or your favorite.  The constants are that you must have quartered artichoke hearts (either in oil or water, drained), precooked chicken chopped into pieces, and a white melting cheese (I like fontina, but mozzarella also works).

Chicken and Artichoke Pizza with Pesto
makes 1 large pizza, two medium, or four individual 

Pizza dough or crust (store-bought or homemade
1/4 cup pesto (store-bought or homemade)
1 can quartered artichoke hearts (either in oil or water), drained
1 cup precooked chicken, chopped*
8 oz fontina or mozzarella, shredded

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place a pizza stone in the oven to preheat.  If using homemade pizza dough, roll it out on a lightly floured surface according to dough directions.  Divide the pesto evenly among the crusts and spread to create a thin layer of pesto.  Chop the artichoke hearts into smaller pieces, and divide among pizza crusts, spreading them out evenly.  Layer on the chicken pieces and top with the shredded cheese. Slide the pizza onto the hot pizza stone. 

Bake according to crust directions and times** until the bottom is crisp and the cheese has melted and is beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and cut into wedges.   

*I have used precooked chicken from the grocery, but I tend to season a large chicken breast with salt and pepper and cook it in a little oil in a skillet until just done.  Then I slice it and chop the slices into smaller pieces.  Either way, works.  You could also use shredded leftover chicken.

**When I make this I use two medium, homemade pizza crusts.  I bake each prepared pizza 5 minutes or so until everything is crisp and melted.  If it needs longer in the oven, that is fine.  Take it out when it looks ready. 


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