Some of my fondest childhood memories stem from pizza night. I’m from a great big family of six and I’m the youngest which means many of my siblings up and got married and flew the coop when I was still pretty young. My Mom would frequently have all of them, including significant others and their little ones, over for dinner. Sometimes we would barbecue but many times it would be a pizza party. Either way, it was always a full house. I swear she must have made enough pizza dough to fill a room because there would be a constant stream of different types of pizza coming from the oven over the course of a couple of hours. There weren’t any exotic ingredients. They were simple yet totally delicious.
I still get that little feeling of excitement when it’s pizza night. I’ve experimented with all kinds of ingredients and combinations and this is one that I make over and over again. I hope you try it and I hope you like it as much as we do.
The grocery list – A jar of your favorite marinara, a rotisserie chicken, red onion, pesto, goat cheese, shredded Italian 4 cheese blend. You’ll also need enough pizza dough – store bought or from scratch – to make two pizzas, a little sugar, some olive oil, and all-purpose flour for rolling out your crust.
There are two items that I buy almost every time I visit Costco. I love to have this great big container of pesto and this tub of goat cheese on hand for emergencies. Like when you need pizza, pronto. Pizza emergencies. Back there behind the pesto and goat cheese is my favorite jarred pasta sauce, the Tomato Basil Marinara from Trader Joe’s. It’s REALLY inexpensive and very tasty. I use it whenever I don’t have time to make a sauce from scratch.
Lets caramelize some onions. Thinly slice about 1/2 of a red onion. Go grab a heavy bottomed pan, cast iron works great. Generously coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil and place it over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook and stir for a couple of minutes. When the onions have just begun to soften, sprinkle in about a teaspoon of sugar.
Continue to cook and stir till they are nice and golden brown and yummy. Set them aside for now.
On a lightly floured board, roll out both of your pizza crusts and then transfer them to baking sheets that have been lightly coated with non-stick cooking spray. You can use store bought dough – I won’t tell anyone, but if you have the time you can make your own. Check out my recipe here.
Now we can assemble the pizzas. Top each crust with an equal amount of your favorite jarred marinara sauce, using only enough to lightly coat the dough. Divide the caramelized onions between the two pizzas. Note to self: caramelized onions are yummy – next time make more.
On goes the chicken. I used a store bought roti chicken but you can cook up some of your own if you are so inclined. I was not inclined.
Mmmm, pesto. Just drop it on with a small spoon.
Without cheese it’s not pizza in my book, but you don’t need a ton of it. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of shredded Italian 4 cheese blend over each pizza and then dot the top with small pieces of goat cheese.
It is ready for the oven. Baking it on the lowest rack will help the crust crisp up nicely. It only takes about 10-12 minutes. Thankfully.
Allow the pizza to sit for about 5 minutes while you stare at it lovingly.
You can use this time to open a nice bottle of red wine or pour some beer into frosty, cold mugs. I like to be productive with my time. I am not a time waster. No sir.
Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Chicken Pesto Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese
Yield: 2 pizzas
- 2/3 cup jarred marinara sauce
- Olive oil
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped into bite size pieces (store bought rotisserie chicken works well)
- 1/2 cup pesto
- 1 cup shredded Italian 4 cheese blend
- 6 ounces goat cheese
- 2 pizza crust dough rounds
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and move oven rack to lowest position.
Lightly coat two baking sheets with cooking spray. Roll a pizza crust dough round out on a floured board until very thin. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with second dough round.
Divide the marinara between the two pizza crusts. It should be enough to just lightly coat the dough. Top with the chicken. Using a small spoon, dot the pesto over the top of each pizza. Sprinkle on the shredded cheese and then drop small pieces of goat cheese over the top.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, on the bottom rack of your oven, till crust is lightly golden brown and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and allow to sit for a few minutes before slicing and serving.