Last Saturday we invited my mother over for dinner. My mom is a very well-travelled woman with many different cultural and culinary experiences, so pleasing her can be somewhat demanding . However when I asked her what we she would like us to make fo her that evening she replied: pizza! That’s pretty easy! Now, I am not a big pizza fan unless they are more or less home-made. We were moonlighting in the garage the night before engaged in our new “hobby” , so we slept in the next day and didn’t have enough time make our own dough. Instead we bought the dough at Whole Foods. Now mind you, I am very picky when it comes to pizza dough. I am not a fan of commercial pizzas with their thick, bread-like crusts. My preference is thin (actually there is one commercially available pizza that I love: Dr. Oetker’s Ristorante Frozen Pizza that come in 8 different toppings), the Neapolitan-style pizza crust, which is made out of wheat flour, brewer’s yeast, salt and water.
The dough must be kneaded by hand and after it rises, rolled out by hand (again) into a 3mm (1/8″) thick pizza. You can garnish it with your favourite topping and then bake it 60-90 seconds in a wood-fired oven. At home you can use a pizza stone in your regular oven. Anyway, Whole Foods’ dough is pretty good, plus you can buy them frozen as well for use later!
My hubby and I decided on two different gourmet pizzas: BBQ Chicken and Prosciutto with Pear, Walnut and Arugula.
Part I will feature the Chicken BBQ Pizza. These are the ingredients you need:
One pizza dough
One large chicken breast, sliced and marinated for an hour in your favourite BBQ sauce (our favourite store-bought one is Rufus Teagues Touch O’ Heat)
Four to six 1/8″ slices of apple-smoked bacon
1-1/2 cup of coarsely chopped sweet onions
1 cup of shredded smoked gouda
1/4 cup of Apple Walnut smoked Promontory Cheese
- 4 tbsp of BBQ sauce
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
Prepare all toppings first. Sweat the chopped onions in a pan with the olive oil over medium heat until they turn translucent. Cover the pan and lower the heat and let the onions cook for another 10 minutes or until they are brown and caramelized. Set aside to cool. Cut the bacon into bite-size strips and cook. Then drain the cooked bits on a paper towel. Place the marinated chicken on a baking sheet and baked until cooked. Shred both cheeses and mix them in a bowl. Set aside.
Pre-heat the pizza stone in the oven to 425° – 450° Fahrenheit. Knead the pizza dough and roll it out thinly on a flour dusted cutting board. Using the back of a table-spoon, spread the BBQ sauce over the entire surface. Distribute the following in this order evenly over the pizza dough: caramelized onions, half of the cheese mix, the baked chicken slices and the bacon, then the rest of the cheese. Slide the pizza onto the hot pizza stone and bake 15-20 minutes. Take out of the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.
My mother enjoyed the savory flavor of this rich pizza. Beware, one slice can be quite filling – I call it a guy’s pizza! It pairs particularly well with a glass of Biale Black Chicken Zinfandel.
The recipe for the Prosciutto with Pear, Walnut and Arugula Pizza will be featured in Part II.