Saturday, February 27, 2010

Recipe #20: Tuscan Chicken and Veggie White Pizza with Feta

I love making homemade pizza (see my first recipe as proof). Nothing against take-out pizza once in a while, but something about homemade pizza is just plain better. You can top it with whatever you like, as much or as little, throw any crazy toppings you like in and don't have to worry about tipping a delivery guy.

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program, I received some free products from Bertolli -- a jar each of their Four Cheese Rosa and spicy Arrabbiata (pretty sure the translation is "cannot wait to use in a recipe") sauces. Normally, I'd do a red sauce with pizza, but this time I decided to shake things up and do a white pizza with the Four Cheese Rosa sauce. Though I normally shy away from jarred sauces as I like the purer flavor you get from making your own, I foresee a stocked pantry of Four Cheese Rosa in our future.

I used my pizza stone for this recipe, but you can also bake the pizza on a cookie sheet. Just be sure to drizzle with olive oil, make sure it's nice and hot, and coat with cornmeal. In case you do use a pizza stone, I've included my pizza stone maintenance tips at the bottom of the recipe.

Before I delve into my recipe, I just have to say that besides the taste, Bertolli impressed me in another way -- their serious packaging. Talk about intense, and beautiful at the same time.

The outside of the box is meant to resemble a menu...

...while the inside has cleverly-designed spaces for the sauces and offers a sample menu of ways they can be used.

Honestly, Bertolli -- bonus points for presentation. Now, onward with the recipe! Enjoy!

3 roma tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic, minced*
1 12-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 cup Bertolli Four Cheese Roma sauce
4 ounces grilled chicken breast*
1 cup feta cheese
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup cornmeal
premade refrigerated pizza dough*
salt and pepper to taste

pizza stone (optional)
2 cookie sheets or 1 sheet pan and a loaf pan

Prep: Chop artichokes into one inch sections. Grill chicken (season with salt and pepper) until cooked through; separate into smaller pieces. Set both aside.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. (If using pizza stone, allow stone to sit in hot oven while preheating, up to 45 minutes) Slice tomatoes into three our four half-inch slices each. Place in loaf pan or on cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar and top with two cloves of minced garlic. Bake for 15 minutes.



Stretch pizza dough to desired shape (I went for a rectangle that ended up being about a foot long). Coat pizza stone or baking sheet with cornmeal, to prevent stickage and give pizza a restaurant taste and feel.

Place untopped dough into the oven for 5 minutes to rise slightly. Remove from oven and carefully pierce with fork.*

Top pizza first with Four Cheese Rosa sauce, distributing evenly, but leaving area for crust. Top next with remaining minced garlic, then chicken, next tomatoes, artichokes, and finally, crumble feta over the top.

Bake at 450 for 20-25 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cheese has browned. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.


-Garlic: I don't usually use fresh garlic when I cook, unless it's going to be almost raw in the dish. What I use instead is a huge jar of Spice World minced garlic. It saves me the time of having to chop (and have my hands smell like) garlic for any given recipe. For this recipe, if you use the jarred garlic, use three tablespoons (one for the tomatoes, the remaining two for the pizza).

*Chicken breast: I literally took about four ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders, seasoned with salt and pepper and stuck it on the grill. Once it was slightly charred, I removed it and broke it into smaller pieces. No fancy techniques here.

*Pizza dough: The type of dough I used for this is not the type you can roll out from Pillsbury, but the type usually sold in the dairy section in plastic bags. The amount of pizza you'll end up with obviously depends on how much you buy, but with a typical bag from the grocery store, I can usually get about 8 pieces of pizza. If your local store doesn't have that, that's OK. You can use Pillsbury pizza dough (it comes in the same type of container as crescent rolls). Just know that you'll have to do much less stretching and much more rolling to avoid breaking the dough. Also, the reason I slightly bake the crust before topping it is to avoid ending up with a crust that's not cooked on the bottom or in the middle because I loaded it with too many toppings when it was raw.

*Pizza stone: Oh, pizza stone, what a mystery you are. If you don't have a pizza stone -- a round terra cotta stone that can be heated to very high temperatures to give food a crisp -- that's okay. For this, you can use parchment paper on a cookie sheet, but you may need to slightly adjust the cooking temperature and time for whatever the parchment paper degree limit is. If you have a pizza stone and (like me) hadn't used it until recently, here are a few things you should know.

*Always let your pizza stone stay in the oven "baking" for about half an hour to 45 minutes before adding food to it. Otherwise, the stone can break if it's subjected to too much heat too quickly. Not allowing it to preheat can also cause whatever you cook on it to stick. In this case, sprinkle additional corn meal on the stone before you put the dough on it.

*Double up on the pot holders. You'll burn your hands very, very easily if you attempt to grab a 450-degree inch of terra cotta. Do yourself (and your fingerprints) a favor, and use two. Before you take the stone out of the oven to place whatever you plan to cook on top of it, make sure you have a plan for where you'll set it down to do that. You don't want to end up melting whatever you set it down on.

*Don't worry if pesto or oil gets onto the stone. That's actually good. The more oil bakes into the stone, the more "seasoned" and "weathered" it is for baking.

*Don't wash your pizza stone with soap. If you do, it will have the same effect as if you dumped oil all over it -- you'll be tasting Palmolive in all your foods from now on. Just use cold water, and let the stone cool completely (even overnight) before "washing."


Amanda said...

You can make me pizza anytime you want!

Deidra said...

The Bertolli presentation is awesome, love it!! I have found I really like making pizza myself, thanks for the new recipe ideas! It tastes ever so much better knowing I made it myself and saved the 20 bucks I'd have spent for delivery!