Roasted Garlic Chicken & Mozzarella Pizza with Homemade Basil Pesto.
In other words, the longest recipe title in all the land.
I’ve been yearning to make a completely new pizza recipe for weeks. Something I’ve never made before– not the typical Hawaiian, gorgonzola apple (fave!), or BBQ chicken that graces our table every Friday night. No, no. Something unique to us with fresh flavors and lots of cheese. Of course cheese.
This roasted garlic chicken pesto pizza came to me when we were out to dinner the other week. I ordered a portabella mushroom and pesto flatbread, which I realize sounds gross to most people but it was ridiculously good. I had an OMG moment (you know the kind) and the next day I made my favorite homemade pesto, combined it with leftover chicken, mozzarella cheese, my prized pizza dough, and enough roasted garlic to keep my breath… aromatic.
The resulting pizza was all sorts of green and fabulous.
Even Kevin, notorious for “just plain cheese pizza please,” loved it. I think what really makes the pizza so special is the homemade basil pesto and all the roasted garlic rubbed on the pizza crust. Your breath will be amazing and you are welcome.
Speaking of homemade basil pesto, here is a 2nd post I created detailing exactly how I make it. Two posts in one today, everyone!
So… homemade basil pesto. It’s easy. And there are tasty variations you can make as well. Think: spinach pesto, walnut pesto, pistachio pesto, and spicy basil pesto. And the uses are endless. Personally, I love it on this pizza. Shocker, right? Also: as a dip for crusty bread, on veggie sandwiches, and as a sauce with pasta.
(I agree that it is not very photogenic. I tried to pretty it up with words and garnish. ↓ ↓)
Other ingredients you’ll need: roasted garlic, chicken, and cheese. For the chicken, I simply used leftover chicken I had from making soup earlier in the week. You can use store-bought shredded rotisserie chicken, or simply slow-cook, grill, boil, bake your own. Just cut or shred it into bite size pieces so it’s easy to enjoy on top of pizza.
For the cheese? I prefer mozzarella with these other toppings. It’s simple, flavorful, and enjoyed by the masses. Next time, I’m going to try provolone. How amazing with pesto, right? Let me know if you try any other cheeses.
PS: you’ll need roasted garlic for the pizza and the homemade pesto, so much sure you have enough. And you can thank me later for how amazing your kitchen will smell. I’m convinced there is no greater smell than roasting garlic in the oven. Maybe homemade brownies. Maybe.
All of these flavorful toppings go on top of my favorite homemade pizza crust. I’ve been making this pizza dough nearly every single week for the past 3 years. There is a reason why I keep going back to it: simple, fluffy, crisp edges, tender, flavorful. Simply the best homemade pizza crust I’ve ever prepared or enjoyed.
I’m going to be honest. I have always, always used Red Star Platinum in my pizza dough. Simply put: I have the best results in my breads when I use their yeast. Their Platinum line is fantastic; its careful formula strengthens your dough and makes making working with yeast simple. For this pizza dough, I use only enough yeast to get the job done; I do not like pizza dough to taste “yeasty.” (Professional terms here, of course.)
If you like pesto and you like pizza… and don’t mind a little roasted garlic on your breath… then you have to try my new pizza recipe. Nothin’ but simple, fresh ingredients mingling together to produce a pizza that is anything but ordinary!
*Don’t feel overwhelmed with the pizza dough! I am extremely thorough in my directions to help guide you along. You can also use my step-by-step photos for the dough. See direction #1.
Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. ♥
Roasted Garlic Chicken & Mozzarella Pizza with Homemade Basil Pesto
This pizza dough recipe makes enough for two 12-inch pizzas. Toppings listed are enough for one 12-inch pizza. Freeze the second dough ball according to instructions in the notes OR double the toppings to make two pizzas.
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Platinum yeast (1 standard packet)1
- 1 and 1/3 cups (320ml) warm water (105°F (40°C) - 115°F (46°C))
- 3 and 1/2 cups (440g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed (measured correctly)
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil, plus more for brushing crust
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon (13g) granulated sugar
- cornmeal, for dusting
- If you would like visuals for making the pizza dough in the next few steps, see this detailed step-by-step post.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment, combine the yeast and warm water. Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes of until the yeast is foamy and dissolved. This is called "proofing" the yeast. If the yeast doesn't dissolve, your yeast is dead. Start again with active yeast. Add flour, olive oil, salt, and sugar. Mix by hand or with the dough hook on low speed for 1 minute. Once all of the ingredients are mixed, knead for 7 minutes by hand or with your dough hook on low-medium speed. If your dough is too wet, add up to 1/4 cup more flour. After kneading, your dough should be smooth and elastic. Poke it with your finger - if it slowly bounces back, your dough is ready to rise. If not, keep kneading. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large mixing bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil. Turn it over to coat all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm environment (75°F (24°C) - 80°F (27°C)). For the warm environment, I heat up my oven to 200°F (93°C). Then, I turn the oven off and keep the door slightly ajar. This will be a warm environment for your dough to rise. After about 30 minutes, I close the oven door to trap warmish air inside with the rising dough. Depending on your type of yeast, your dough will have doubled in size in about 1 - 2 hours.
- After rising, punch the dough down to release the air. Divide the dough into two. Roll each half into a ball and let rest in two separate bowls lightly covered for 15 minutes. You may freeze one of the dough balls at this point to use at a later time because the toppings listed are enough for only one 12-inch pizza (see notes).
- Preheat oven to 475°F (246°C). Allow to heat for at least 30 full minutes. Every inch of your oven needs to be very, very hot. Grease and dust 2 baking sheets with nonstick spray or with olive oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal (preferred for flavor and texture) or flour.
- After 15 minutes, flatten ball of dough on a lightly floured surface. You could also do this directly on your cornmeal lined pizza pan. Flatten into a 12-inch round circle, flattening and stretching the dough. If using a pizza stone, place the dough directly on baker's peels dusted with cornmeal. Lift the edge of the dough up to create a lip around the edges. To prevent the filling from making your pizza crust soggy, brush the top lightly with olive oil. Using your fingers, push dents into the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling. Let rest for 15 minutes before topping.
- Top the dough evenly with garlic, then spread the pesto on top. Add the chicken then sprinkle on the cheese. Bake for 12-15 minutes. For the last minute, I move the oven rack to the top rack to really brown the edges. That's optional. Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil, if desired.
- Slice hot pizza and serve immediately. Store leftover pizza covered tightly in the refrigerator and reheat as you prefer. Baked pizza slices can be frozen up to 1 month and reheated as desired.
- If not using an instant yeast, rise time may be up to 40% longer.
Freezing Instructions For Pizza Dough. It’s important to know that the pizza dough recipe is enough to make two 12-inch pizzas. If you do not need two pizzas, here are the freezing instructions: After the pizza dough has risen and you divide the dough in half to form into two pizzas (step 3), you can freeze one of the balls of dough to make a pizza at a later time. Lightly spray all sides of the dough ball with nonstick spray or lightly coat all sides with olive oil. Place the dough ball into individual zipped-top bag and seal tightly, squeezing out all the air. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, put your frozen pizza dough ball in the refrigerator overnight or for about 12 hours. When ready to make the pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator and set out on the counter to rest for 30 minutes and come to room temperature. Continue with step 4.
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Try my Spinach Artichoke Pizza next!