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Pesto Chicken Pizza

I advocate a three step pizza baking process that I think helps get the best results when baking in a home oven on a pizza stone. You don’t have to use my crazy system.  You could just layer all the stuff on and bake the whole thing for 20 minutes but I really think the three step process gets the best results.  Also don’t forget to preheat that pizza stone, it makes a big difference. For this recipe you can use homemade dough and pesto or store bought, it’s your choice.

Homemade pizza dough half a batch or enough store bought for one 9 inch pizza

¼ cup spinach and basil pesto or store bought

1 roasted chicken breast, sliced

Slice toppings into bite sized pieces

1 fresh mozzarella ball, sliced

4 slices of prosciutto diced

1 large tomato, sliced very thin

¼ large red onion, sliced very thin

Parmesan

Olive oil

Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees with your pizza stone (if you have one) already inside the oven for at least a half hour. If you have a convection setting on your oven use it. Let your dough come to room temperature if you have been storing it in the fridge.Roll out the dough use either your hand or rolling pin, don’t make the crust to thin. The dough is elastic feeling and may need you to work with it a bit. If it’s keeps springing back into shape allow to rest for 15 minutes and try again.Have a cookie sheet nearby to place the dough on when it’s ready. Before you transfer the pizza sprinkle the cookie sheet and the top of the dough liberally with cornmeal.  Be sure to flip the rolled out dough over when you place it on the cookie sheet so the corn meal is now on the bottom of the pizza.  This will add a nice crunch to the dough and make it so you can slide the pizza off the cookie sheet and on to your heated pizza stone in the oven. Or you can place a clean tea towel on the cookie sheet and dust it with corn meal then place the dough on top so you can use the towel to slide the dough onto the stone, see video here. Here it is my three part baking process…its more work but so worth it. First drizzle the crust with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then layer on the fresh mozzarella; it will not take much cheese as it will spread as it heats. Slide on to the pizza stone and bake for about 5 minutes until the crust gets about half baked and the cheese is nice and bubbly. If the pizza gets stuck on the cookie sheet DO NOT PANIC, bake it on there, and next time add more corn meal to the bottom.Slide the hot pizza out of the oven on to the cookie sheet and add a layer of thin sliced salted tomatoes and dot the tomatoes with pesto, return to the oven on the pizza stone for 3-5 more minutes until the tomatoes look like they have begun to soften, and slide back out.Add all the rest of the toppings: prosciutto, onion, and chicken. Then return the pizza to the oven to bake for 8-10 more minutes until the toppings are cooked and the crust is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before you slice. Top with grated Parmesan and crushed red pepper if you like.

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