Grilled chicken layered with grape tomatoes, fresh basil (or spinach leaves) and fresh mozzarella over an easy-to-make creamy Alfredo sauce on a crispy 50% whole wheat crust.
The creamy Alfredo sauce goes together in minutes, and it is spiked with pinch of red pepper flakes to give it a little kick. You can spread the sauce right on the raw dough, but I usually pre-bake my crusts for a couple of minutes first then apply the toppings.
After the sauce is smeared on top of the crust, a sprinkling of fresh basil leaves (or baby spinach leaves) go on top.
I grilled the chicken breasts specifically for this recipe, but you could surely use leftover chicken as well. Next time I'll cook the chicken until "just done" as I thought it was a tiny bit dry by the time the pizza finished baking. I used fresh mozzarella but you could used aged if you prefer.
I love the way the grape tomatoes gain that bit of roasted char in the hot oven, it really seems to concentrate the sugar in them so they are delightfully sweet.
Lastly, brush the edges of the crust with olive oil before baking, and a light sprinkling of coarse salt and pepper over the pie before it goes into a hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
Another shower of basil or spinach goes over all once the pizza is taken from the oven for a fresh contrast to the hot pizza.
For the crust this time I found myself playing around with a pizza crust recipe I came across on Heidi Swanson's "101 Cookbooks" blog (I adore her blog!)
In keeping with trying to eat more whole grains, I just changed the recipe a little by exchanging half of the white whole wheat flour with a mix of whole wheat and dark rye flour. It turned out very well, and the crust crisped up very nicely, with a nice "chew" to the edges.
For ease of transferring the pizza to and from the oven I always assemble my pizzas on a pizza peel (click) like the ones shown below.
I love to put these beautiful wooden peels into double duty as cheese, fruit, bread, sandwich, and appetizer or dessert serving boards.
And although this metal type of pizza peel may not be as aesthetically pleasing as the wooden ones -- the thin, sturdy metal construction makes removing the hot pizza from the pizza stone a very easy task.
It slides right under the thinnest, or the heaviest pizza without a hitch.
I like a crisp crust so I bake pizzas directly on a preheated baking stone like ...
I've tried all kinds of baking stones; individual tiles, round and square one-piece units, but my favorite by far is this rectangular one-piece style. It works great for baking bread upon, too. I usually keep it in one of the ovens all of the time as it helps in keeping the baking temperature on point.
Baking Stone cleaning tip: If you don't mind leaving a rack in place when you use the self-cleaning function in your oven, leave your baking stone on the rack while you clean the oven. The baking stone will be cleaned at the same time. (I just use my bench scraper to remove any cornmeal or other bits from the stone prior to auto-cleaning the oven, then fire up the self-cleaning mode.)
If you would like a printable copy of the pizza recipe you can find it on my recipe blog by clicking HERE.