Pesto and Artichoke Chicken Pizza & State of Play
Alright, so this pizza is what I make when I’m in a pinch either for time or brain power. It’s simple, wonderfully delicious, fun to make and come on, pizza is a classic on movie nights. This week we chose State of Play mostly because the cast was so good the chances of it being enjoyable were high. It did keep me entertained throughout and I liked watching Russell Crowes’s old-school newspaper writing character seek the truth as if he were a modern day John Wayne of DC takin’ the ‘little lady’ (Rachel McAdams) under his wing.
It made me miss the days when I was Photo Editor of my college newspaper and would hang out with the writers all day playing a little online war game in the office. I strategically chose the screen name “Princess” because nothing could hurt a male ego more than being blown to smithereens by not only a girl but PRINCESS. My mail slot (where actual papers were placed as opposed to emails, novel idea right?) filled up with just as many “Die Princess” death threats as work papers. I say, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen boys!
A Piece of the Pie
The whole idea with this pizza is that it’s easy and trustworthy and always a hit. I use pre-made store bought ingredients such as the dough and pesto. Of course you can easily make these from scratch but some work days are too exhausting to think about such things. Forming the pizza dough has to be one of the most enjoyable experiences in the kitchen. Flour plumes, dough flies in the air, I start using Italian slang and a dough ball fight even ensued one night.
1 ball of store bought dough- thawed and ready to use (or make your own)
flour for rolling out the dough
1 lb of chicken breasts
1 package of store bought pesto (or make your own)
about 4 pieces of marinated artichoke hearts or 1 small can
1 ball of FRESH mozzarella
Small piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano
red pepper flakes
salt & pepper
Let your frozen dough ball thaw as per package instructions.
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil and add the chicken breasts cooking until meat is white throughout (about 5-7mins. Remove from water and dice the chicken up into small pieces. Place in a bowl and add about 1/4 of the pesto to coat the chicken pieces.
Toss / roll / press dough out into the pizza shape you want, I have to make it oblong because my NYC oven is so small. Pour the remaining Pesto onto the pizza and spread out in a thin layer. Take the marinated artichoke hearts and break apart and spread over the pesto. Continue the same with the chicken.
Slice the mozzarella into thin pieces and evenly spread on the pizza. Grate on the top some fresh parmigiano, salt & pepper to taste, 1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes and a small quick drizzle of olive oil. Place in the oven for about 7 minutes, watching carefully to get it just browned and crispy but not burned.