Individual white chicken pizzas
I was spending a lengthy commute the other day flipping through my newest (March, 2014) Cooking Light magazine. A recipe for little pizzas topped with ricotta cheese and shredded rotisserie chicken caught my eye. Other than making the ricotta cheese from scratch (which they promised was key), the recipe sounded fairly quick. It called for fresh, store-bought pizza dough and shredded chicken, which was already in my possession.
Have you ever made ricotta cheese? This was my second attempt, with similar, dismal results. And yes, the end product was creamy, but because I had a million things going on, waiting another 30 minutes for it to continue to drain through the sieve was no longer an option. Therefore the quantity was lacking and it was a bit on the thin side. Note to self - obviously the one half cup herb-infused olive oil called for would be waaay too much to stir into this cheese.
Ricotta cheese debacle aside, after lots of rework, these mini pizzas were outstanding. I’ve modified the recipe to use store-bought ricotta (I love it right out of the container) and I because the recipe already called for fresh mozzarella as well, I left out the pre-shredded Italian blend cheese that was a listed ingredient.
A recipe inspired from Cooking Light magazine.
- 1 pound refrigerated fresh pizza dough, divided
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 8 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 1 generous cup ricotta cheese
- 12 ounces shredded cooked chicken breast
- 3 ounces fresh part-skim mozzarella cheese, torn into small pieces
- 1 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup small fresh basil leaves
Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 450° (keep pizza stone or baking sheet in oven as it preheats).
Let pizza dough rest, covered, at room temperature as oven preheats.
Combine oil and next 4 ingredients (through thyme sprigs) in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 4 minutes or until garlic begins to brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine sieve over a small bowl; discard solids.
Combine 2 tablespoons of the oil with ricotta cheese and salt. (You’ll have extra olive oil which you can use for another recipe.)
Divide dough into 6 equal pieces (about 2.5 ounces each). Roll each piece into a 6-inch circle on a lightly floured surface (keep dough covered with a damp towel to prevent drying). Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons ricotta cheese mixture over each pizza, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Divide chicken and mozzarella cheese evenly among pizzas; sprinkle evenly with thyme leaves and black pepper. Carefully remove pizza stone from oven. Arrange 3 to 4 pizzas on pizza stone. Bake at 450° F. for 8 minutes or until dough is golden and cheese browns. Repeat procedure with remaining pizzas, or follow freezing instructions.
Brush baked pizzas with a little bit of the oil and sprinkle evenly with fresh basil leaves.
TO FREEZE: Bake pizzas on preheated stone for only 5 minutes. Cool; wrap individually in heavy-duty foil, stack, and freeze up to 2 months.
TO REHEAT: No thawing: Place frozen pizzas on a baking sheet that’s not preheated; bake at 450° for 13 minutes or until cheese browns.