Making pizza is a great way to get the whole family involved in the kitchen. There are so many steps to the process that everyone, even the children, can pitch in. The combinations of toppings and sauces go on and on. Instead of the usual pepperoni and sausage, try some cooked chicken, or scrambled eggs and chopped bacon. Try a store-bought alfredo or pesto sauce rather than tomato sauce for a creative twist. Baking on a stone instead of a traditional pan gives pizza a crispness similar to those baked in a commercial brick oven. The possibilities are endless! In honor of national pizza week, why not skip the delivery and spend time together while creating a more special pie at home?
Pizza can be as complicated or as simple as the cook desires. To make our pizza an easy meal, we took some help from the Publix in Greenville, where the bakery offers fresh pizza doughballs, ready to form and bake, usually at about $2.00 each. We also picked up a perfectly roasted rotisserie chicken from the Publix deli. Rotisserie chicken can be used for many things, but that's another article. For the pizza, use a fork to pull the chicken from the bones and tear it into shreds. Save the bones and skin to make your own stock later, and refrigerate the unused portion of chicken to make a quick salad or soup another day.
Our Favorite Pizza
Makes 8 slices
1 ball pizza dough from Publix bakery
2 T coarse cornmeal or grits
1 C cooked and shredded chicken, skin and bones removed
1/2 C storebought pesto sauce
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 C shredded mozzerella cheese
2 C fresh arugula
1 T red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
Prepare the ingredients: Thaw and raise dough according to package instructions. Preheat oven. If using a baking stone, place it on the center rack and build the pizza on a cutting board. Sprinkle cornmeal on the cutting board to help the pizza slide off it and onto the stone. If not using a stone, simply build the pizza on a large baking pan. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until browned, then set aside. Form the dough by hand, or with a rolling pin, into a large round.
Layer the toppings: Drizzle a little olive oil over the crust and spread so that it goes all the way to the edge. Place pesto in the center of the crust and paint it out almost to the edge using a pastry brush or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle onion/garlic mixture over the pesto, making sure it's evenly distributed. Sprinkle cheese generously over the whole pie. Layer chicken next.
Bake: If using a stone, slide pizza from the board onto the hot stone. Bake according to dough package instructions, until crust is browned and cheese is melted and bubbly. To make the pizza even more deliciously adult, crack one egg in the center of the pie about five minutes before the end of the baking time. Return to the oven and bake until the egg's white is fully cooked, and the yolk is still liquid. Delicious!
Finish: While pizza is baking, dress arugula with vinegar and about 2 T olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat greens evenly. After removing pizza from oven, pile greens on top. Slice pizza into eight wedges and serve. This pie is easily adapted to a more child-friendly version by serving the greens on the side as a salad.