Pesto—ground-up basil leaves, pine nuts, grated cheese, and olive oil—is a standby summer favorite that passes well into fall. The slightly tart, satisfying spread easily dresses up everything from pasta to vegetables to salad in a way that will please even the pickiest eaters in your household. It freezes fabulously, so stock up this fall and enjoy it year-round! And when you inevitably find yourself up to your overalls in plenteous greens by the end of the summer, it’s a great way to use up all of that extra basil.
While it’s simple to make and freeze your own pesto (add marble mortar and wooden pestle to ingredients listed above), this recipe uses ready-made. Look for it at your local farmers market.
Prep time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
– 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
– 1 cup warm water
– 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 envelope active dry yeast
– Polenta (for dusting)
– Butter (for coating)
– 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
– A small bowl of flour, for coating
– Pepper, salt, and garlic powder for coating
– Extra virgin olive oil for sautéing
– A 5.5 oz ball of mozzarella cheese, grated
– 1 ½ cups pesto
– 1 egg yolk
– Garlic powder
- Start with the pizza dough. Put the warm water in a small bowl and stir in the yeast and sugar. Let stand for about 5 minutes, or until it begins to bubble.
- Combine 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour in a large bowl with oil. Stir in the yeast mixture (Step 1) until the dough becomes stiff. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until you have an elastic, smooth ball.
- Coat the inside of another large bowl with butter, and run the ball of dough inside the bowl until its entire surfaced has been buttered. Leave the dough in the bowl, cover with a dishtowel, and let sit in a warm place for 30 minutes. (Dough should double in bulk.) Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425º Farenheit.
- While the dough is sitting, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Combine a dash each of salt, pepper, and garlic powder (or more to taste) with a small bowl of flour. When the oil is hot, roll each bite-size piece of chicken in the flour mixture until it’s coated, and sauté in the olive oil until the chicken is golden brown.
- After the dough has doubled, punch it down on a floured surface and shape it to fit a pizza pan or cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with polenta. Use a rolling pin if you’d like, and then roll the edges inward about an inch and a half to create a manageable crust.
- Spread the pesto evenly on the dough, sprinkle with grated mozzarella cheese, and top with chicken.
- In a small bowl, combine one egg yolk with a dash of garlic powder, and brush this mixture on the remaining crust.
- Bake for 15 – 20 minutes at 425º Farenheit.