I’ve gotten into a kind of rhythm with my menu planning. On Saturday morning, I sit with my coffee, my cookbooks, and my laptop. I jump online and check my favorite grocery store’s ads and a few coupon websites. Then the real fun begins. Armed with the knowledge of the week’s deals, I scour my cookbooks and favorite blogs looking for just the right recipes.
This recipe was definitely just right. I knew the moment I saw it that it would be on our menu. I’m a huge mushroom fan, so the thought of mushroom pesto was quite appealing. Add creamy, delicious fontina and the dish is sure to be a win. The chicken was a last minute addition. It isn’t called for in the original recipe, but my body was telling me it needed extra protein that night. It’s not often I feel that way, so I knew I should listen. The chicken went great with the super flavorful mushroom pesto, though I know the pizza will be equally delicious with the original vegetarian preparation.
I really, really enjoyed this. In fact, I see it becoming a regular player in our dinner rotation. I’ll be more than okay with that.
Fontina, Chicken, and Mushroom Pizza
mushroom pesto adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
pizza slightly adapted from Pink Parsley
For the mushroom pesto:
5 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic
1/4 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1 small shallot, roughly chopped
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 TBSP fresh parsley leaves
2 TBSP Parmesan cheese
For the pizza:
1/2 recipe pizza dough
1 recipe mushroom pesto
1/2 c. cooked, shredded chicken
8 oz. mushrooms, preferably a variety of wild mushrooms
1 TBSP butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/4 c. dry white wine
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 c. shredded Fontina cheese
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
3 TBSP chopped parsley
1. To make the mushroom pesto, adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees F; line
rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil.
2. On the baking sheet, toss
sliced mushrooms with 1 TBSP oil and salt and pepper. Roast,
stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 20-25 minutes.
For the last 10 minutes, add the garlic, in their skins, to the pan to
roast as well.
3. Peel the garlic when it’s cool enough to handle.
4. Meanwhile, soak the dried mushrooms in 1/4 cup boiling water for about 5
minutes. Strain through a paper towel-lined colander and reserve the
5. In bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, process roasted
mushrooms, garlic, porcini and liquid, shallot, thyme, parsley and
remaining 3 TBSP oil until smooth, stopping as necessary to
scrape down sides of bowl. Transfer mixture to small bowl and stir in
cheese; season to taste with salt and pepper. Pesto can be prepared the night before and kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
6. Once mushrooms are out of the oven, increase heat to 500 degrees F and place pizza stone in oven. Allow to heat together 30 minutes.
7. While oven and stone are heating, begin the pizza by preparing mushrooms. In a skillet set over medium heat,
melt butter. Add mushrooms and saute until browned and
softened, 5-8 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook until
fragrant. Season with salt and pepper, then pour in the wine. Cook
until the liquid has evaporated and remove from heat.
8. On a pizza peel or large square of parchment paper dusted with cornmeal, roll out or stretch the dough into a 12-in. circle. Brush outer edges with olive
9. Spread the pesto over the dough, leaving a small border (about
1/2 in.). Scatter the chicken and mushrooms evenly over the pesto, and top with
the fontina and Parmesan cheeses.
10. Carefully transfer the pizza and parchment to the preheated stone, and
cook about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the
crust is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 5 min. Sprinkle with parsley, then cool 5 min. more before slicing and
three years ago: gumdrop cookies