Tuesday, April 13, 2010


It started as a challenge and ended as the among the best pizza I have ever eaten.

A few weeks ago, Penny from LAKE LURE COTTAGE, introduced me to her recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Pesto.  That recipe proved very useful indeed, as I have used it for a dip with Ritz crackers (a simple cracker for a simple guy).  I added some pineapple and made some Rum Poached Scallops with a Roasted Pepper - Pineapple Pesto.

Then, just a couple days ago, I used another of Penny's recipes to make... 
RED PEPPER PESTO PASTA PRIMAVERA another use for a Rotisserie Chicken.  This pesto was quickly becoming a favorite ingredient!  The challenge came when Penny made a comment on my pasta...

Penny said...

I always love the way you adapt recipes. You done good too my friend. That red pepper pesto is very versatile. Wait till you try it on pizza! But this pasta is a perfect vehicle for your rotisserie chicken. How about a red pepper pesto chicken Pizza?
OK, I should be able to do this.  It's just a pizza.

So, I trudged off to the store that sells the rotisserie chickens.  I've covered that subject before... How can they sell them fully cooked and seasoned for only $6 when a raw one costs $10???  But I digress...

With another cooked chicken under my arm, I spent the walk home pondering what type of pizza to make with the two ingredients already established, chicken and pesto.  I was able to have my laptop under the other arm, and found a hotspot during my walk.  Well, actually I did a little research before I went to the store, but I did ponder the research while walking...

A pesto pizza is not your standard Domino's.  The pesto replaces the pizza sauce.  No sauce... well, this was going to be something brand new.  I've never done that before.  So, I spent the next 6 miles walking uphill, pondering all the things I have never done before.  My thoughts strayed, but eventually I got back to the pizza.  Really, since the pesto has so much flavor, so many ingredients, my choices for the pizza were simple... Keep the rotisserie taste of the chicken, or add a new flavor.  I added a new flavor... well, three new flavors...

BBQ sauce for the chicken
Caramelized onions instead of raw onions

Oh, and I made my own fresh dough

Here's what I did...

Pizza dough is easy... 

3 cups all purpose Flour
2 tsp (1 package) active dry Yeast
2 TBS Canola Oil
2 TBS Sugar
1 cup warm Water

Mix everything together.  Forms a ball of dough.  You may need to add a bit more flour.  No need to let it rise.  I went ahead and formed into pizza dough shape (I don't have a round pan, so it was old school in my rectangular cookie pan).  It took me about an hour to cut, dice, chop, sauté, and get the ingredients ready for this pizza.  So, that hour was spent letting the dough rise in the pan.  It did.

First thing i did for the toppings was to start the onions caramelizing...

2 TBS Butter
2 TBS Brown Sugar
1 BIG Onion

It takes time... Melt the butter, add the Br Sugar and cut the onions into thick rings (and then cut those in half).  Simmer on medium for about 40 minutes.  You will know when they start to brown.

meanwhile (lots of pans and choppers going at once)...

Start chopping the chicken.  I used 1/2 of the bird, breast meat and thigh (I ate the leg and wing...sorry, was hungry).

I added a bit of BBQ sauce and sautéed for a few minutes to coat and warm.

Next, i needed to make the pesto.  This is the easiest, fastest part, as it is all done in my mini chopper...

2 large red bell peppers, washed
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons pine nuts
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt, if needed

That is Penny's original recipe.  I wanted to avoid the moisture that would make my dough soggy, so I left out the oil, and due to budget issues (I am cheap), I substituted peanuts for pine nuts.  Even without the oil, I put the pesto in my hand and squeezed out a lot of wet before I layered it on the dough.

So, finally, it is time to start assembling the pizza...

I could have put the pesto on the top of the pizza, as the last ingredient.  Would have toasted the garlic and peppers more and changed the taste.  More for looks than anything else, I chose to put the pesto on the bottom. 

Then topped the pesto with the onions and chicken...

Topped with some freshly grated Mozzarella Cheese... And BTW, buy the bricks and grate yourself.  It has much more flavor than the packages of pre-grated cheese.  The bricks are cheaper and because it has more flavor, you do not have to use as much... a twofer savings.

Then I added a sprinkling (couple teaspoons) of my herb mixture, It's not your Grandmother's HERBES de PROVENCE.  I make up a bag full every six months or show.  Allows me to effortlessly add a bunch of flavors without having to mix each time.  This is a great thing to have around your spice drawer.

I also topped with some very thinly sliced Roma tomatoes...

Baked at 375 degrees (preheated oven) for 20 minutes...

Penny, I wish you could taste this...

Lots of garlic (the pesto has a lot of garlic)
Lots of cheese (the pesto has a lot of Parmesan Cheese, and it is topped with Mozzarella)
Lots of Chicken (a great way to use one of those cheap rotisserie chickens)
Lots of sweet (the caramelized onions)
Lots of tang (the BBQ sauce)

That's a lot of Pizza...



  1. Dave! This is a work of art. Well done.

  2. Oh my goooooosh! And now that I know it's so easy to make pizza dough...and knowing that I have a bunch of chicken leftover in my fridge...guess who's most definitely making her first pizza this weekend?? Though I don't know if I'll go with the pesto - I can't justify making a whole pizza just for me and I get the feeling my husband would run for the hills because, well, that's just how he is! haha

  3. Awesome! I love red pepper pesto, this is something I have to try. Heh, it's funny I'm actually making a bbq chicken pizza tonight. I have the dough rising in the fridge as I type.

  4. Looks good and what a great tutorial! (They usually are) :)

  5. Wow Dave! I wish I could taste it too. I guess I will just have to make one of my own. By the way, Sweet Baby Ray's is our favorite BBQ sauce too. You are so darn creative with your ingredients! Glad the red pepper pesto has become so versatile.

  6. Sounds delicious Dave! My kinda pizza!

  7. Pesto, caramelized onions and barbecue sauce. The hallmarks of any good dish. But especially a pizza. Love this combo and how fearless you are in the kitchen!

  8. I love the flavor of pesto and added to pizza is always a flavor bonus.

  9. First of all, Sweet Baby Ray's (any of the varieties) is the favorite BBQ sauce in this house.

    Secondly, I hate myself for reading your blog late at night when I've got the munchies. I just want to take a nose dive into that pizza right now.

  10. Lord, have mercy! What an amazing pizza. I can only imagine how good this must taste. It looks awesome. Good call!

  11. Great pizza Dave, and we love Sweet Baby Ray's too!
    Really, the pizza looks awsome- I must get busy and make some soon.

  12. Wow! This is to dream about. Stumbled upon your blog and it is one of the very few that I follow. I must make this!

  13. I bet the kitchen was smelling so good while the pizza was in the oven. I would think even just a cheese and red pepper pesto pizza would be good on it's own. I want pizza now.