Although I haven't blogged about it yet, I have been chipping away at my New Year's resolution of trying some new recipes. The results have been largely unmemorable up to this point -- certainly no permanent additions to my cooking repertoire. This weekend, however, afforded the opportunity to tackle some more ambitious recipe choices, as Justin and I decided to stay in this weekend and cook together.
The inspiration for today's project was a recipe I came across when perusing my favorite food blog aggregation site, Tastespotting, earlier this week. I'd spotted a photo of a pizza that looked interesting, and left the page open on my computer. Justin came across the open page when he was using my computer, agreed that it looked interesting and potentially tasty, so we agreed to take a stab at making it for ourselves.The original recipe called for a store bought pizza crust, but I've never had a particularly positive experience with one (not even the Trader Joe's brand, which I've seen uniformly praised), so I opted to use my favorite scratch recipe. I think that was the right call, as the fantastic crust elevated the unorthodox combination of ingredients to a nearly sublime level. Initially, we had been curious as to how grapes would work as a pizza topping, but not unlike the presence of pineapple on the classic "Hawaiian pizza," the grapes created a lovely sweet counterpoint to the salty cheese, pesto, and chicken. It was an extraordinarily balanced pie, and by far the best new dish to come out of my kitchen in ages.
My one piece of advice if you choose to replicate this dish at home (and I strongly recommend you do), is to seek out a high-quality pecorino romano cheese to grate over the top. It provides a very important salty/tangy flavor note. Chicken Pesto Pizza with Grapes
adapted from Cooking Light
1 batch pizza dough, either store-bought or homemade
1/3 c. refrigerated pesto
1 1/2 c. red seedless grapes, halved
8 oz. chopped rotisserie chicken meat
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 oz. part-skim, low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 c. sliced green onions
Preheat the oven to the temperature listed in your recipe or on the package, and par-bake the dough until spotty brown; remove from the oven. Spread pesto evenly over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around edges. Arrange grapes evenly over dough; top evenly with chicken. Top with garlic and mozzarella; sprinkle with Romano and pepper. Return to oven and bake until crust is golden brown, and cheese has melted. Sprinkle with onions.