Monday, September 1, 2014

Chicken Alfredo Pizza on Focaccia Crust

Chicken Alfredo Pizza on Focaccia Crust

My original plan for dinner tonight was just the regular old thin crust pizza. Somehow I didn't manage to make the dough in time, which tastes better with a slow rise in the fridge. So, then I thought I'd make pepperoni pizza on a focaccia crust because focaccia is a fast bread to make. THEN I remembered that I had one chicken breast in the fridge that I needed to use, so I decided to try this. Although I think the crust is too thick (I'll probably divide it into thirds next time), it was flavorful, creamy, and satisfying nonetheless. My eating buddy Ezra and I enjoyed it thoroughly, and we even have some leftovers for lunch today. Mmmm.
When I was making this pizza, it didn't feel like a ton of ingredients and work, because I've made each part dozens of times. When I started typing out the ingredients, though, I thought, "Hmmm. Other people may find this overwhelming." So, if you're a novice in the kitchen, you may want to try taking some shortcuts on this, like using rotisserie chicken and a pre-made pizza crust (could be one that you made yourself and froze, for instance). You can't shortcut the sauce, though. Obviously, it's in the name. Plus, it's really easy to make.
I actually only made one pizza when I made this, and I have half a cup of leftover sauce in my fridge. The crust that I did not use for the Alfredo pizza turned into a pepperoni pizza that, honestly, was a bit disappointing. Again, the crust was much too thick for what I had going on on top. At least this one turned out, and I think I will be making it again sometime.

Chicken Alfredo Pizza on Focaccia Crust

Chicken Ingredients*:
Focaccia Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for pans
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, plus more for bottom
  • 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon (approx) Italian seasoning
Alfredo Sauce Ingredients (adapted from
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon flour (I used Better Batter Gluten Free All Purpose)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
Other Pizza Toppings:
  • 2 cups or so clean fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 2-3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1-2 cups grated Italian cheese blend

For the chicken...
Mix all of the Chicken Ingredients in a large zip-top bag, or in a medium size bowl. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator while you prepare the crust.
At some point while the dough rises or the crust bakes, either grill the chicken until done, or fry in a pan on the stove set to medium until chicken is done and browned on two sides.
Allow to cool a bit and then cut into 1/8-1/4 inch slices. Set aside.
*I'm only very specific here about how I prepared the chicken because it's what I did, and I love this seasoning. Any savory, garlicky prepared chicken will work fine. Two cups of sliced/diced chicken should do it.

For the focaccia crust...
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, put in the water, oil, salt, garlic salt, flour, yeast, and Parmesan cheese. Mix on low until dry ingredients are moistened and then mix on high for about 1 minute. Remove paddle attachment, scraping off as much dough as you can. Allow dough to rest while you prepare the pans (makes it easier to spread the dough in the pans).
Drizzle about 1-2 tablespoons olive oil into two 9-inch cake pans and thoroughly grease bottoms and side with the olive oil. Sprinkle a little garlic salt and 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning into the bottom of each pan. 
Divide dough in half and press one half into each pan, using greased hands. If you can, try to make the dough a little thicker at the edges. (My focaccia ended up with a bit of a dome that was hard to work with.) Allow dough to rise for one hour.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until puffed and starting to brown on top.
While dough rises and then bakes, prepare the Alfredo sauce and chicken.

For the Alfredo sauce...
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the 2 tablespoons butter. Add minced garlic and stir. Cook garlic for about 30 seconds. Add 1 tablespoon flour and stir, cooking for about 1 minute more. Whisk in heavy cream and then whisk in the Parmesan and pepper. Turn heat down to low and whisk until sauce is thick and creamy. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the pizza...
Turn the oven up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spread half the sauce onto each crust. Top each with about 1 cup baby spinach leaves. Then top each with half the chicken and then half the cheese.
Place pans on a baking sheet just in case the cheese oozes over.
Bake at 450 degrees until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes. 
Carefully run a sharp knife around the edge of each pan to loosen the pizza. Using a strong spatula, carefully remove the pizza from the pan to a cutting board lined with parchment paper. If the cheese sticks use the spatula or the knife to loosen it before removing the pizza from the pan.
Cut each pizza into six slices (I suggest using a large sharp knife and cutting straight down; I used a pizza cutter, and it was a mess--crust was too thick).
Serves 4-6 people, depending on their appetites and what else you're serving.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

The pizza was so thick that the cutting
part got a little messy, but you can see
all of the yummy creamy sauce under
the toppings. Mmmmmmmm.

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