Friday, April 16, 2010

Chicken, Broccoli, Ricotta Pizza

I'm a fan of making homemade pizzas. It's a heck of a lot cheaper than eating fancy wood-fired pizza and you can get more creative with your toppings.

Chicken, Broccoli, Ricotta Pizza

1 pizza dough - I use Pillsbury refrigerated thin crust pizza dough
2 Tsp. olive oil
2 Tb. grated Parmesan Cheese
1/3 pound broccoli, about 1 head
1 Tb. olive oil
3 cloves cracked garlic
1/2 pound chicken breasts or chicken tenders (approximately 2 chicken breasts)
Salt & Pepper
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
10 sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained & sliced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
12 - 15 leaves of fresh basil

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Pour some vegetable oil on a paper napkin and wipe the baking sheet with the oil. Sprinkle baking sheet with corn meal. This gives a nice rustic crunch to the bottom of your pizza and also helps it to not stick to the sheet. Roll out or stretch pizza dough. Try pre-baking the crust at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of olive oil over crust and spread it to the edge of the dough. Sprinkle crust with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan.

Steam broccoli florets, discarding stalks. Drain and set on cutting bored. Chop into smaller pieces if not small enough already.

Heat a pan over medium high heat. Add oil, cracked garlic and chicken. Season with salt & pepper. Cook chicken until cooked through. Remove chicken and garlic, chop into small pieces.

Dot crust with broccoli florets, chicken and garlic. Spread ricotta cheese over chicken and broccoli. Make sure large clumps are spread out evenly. Add just a little bit of salt over the ricotta. Add sliced sun-dried tomatoes on top of ricotta cheese. Add a thin layer of mozzarella.

Place pizza in middle of the oven and lower heat to 450 degrees. Bake for 12 minutes until cheese is golden brown and crust is brown and crisp. Remove pizza and let sit for 5 minutes. Tear fresh basil on top of pizza. Cut and serve.

It's definitely a colorful pizza!

The middle part of the pizza dough was still a bit doughy. That's why I suggest baking the dough a little beforehand, so that it gets cooked a little more thoroughly. I love Pillsbury pizza doughs for homemade pizzas - especially the thin crust one. The dough ends up being nice and crunchy and a little sweet. The regular crust may give you more of a fluffy, chewy crust. You could make your own pizza dough or see if your grocery store has pre-made doughs (I've never seen them before).

This is definitely one of the healthier pizzas I've made (sausage and pesto is one of the un-healthiest, but SO good!). Since the ricotta is part skim, it lacks a little bit in flavor, so that's why I suggest adding a bit of salt on top of it. I might try roasting the broccoli instead of steaming it next time to give it even more depth of flavor. Even using one of those roast chickens from the grocery store would add a little more oomph - and save you from having to cook the chicken yourself. I really like how the sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes adds a nice punch into this pizza. I would probably add even more next time and maybe even some red pepper flake to give it a bit of heat.

Overall, it was a good pizza. Definitely some improvements to be made and tried for next time.

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