Chicken Pesto Pizza bakes in a snap, thanks to freezer-friendly shortcuts! Keep a batch of pizza dough and toppings in the freezer, and dinner is ready in minutes. You can even prep and freeze the whole pizza for the busiest of weeknights!
When we moved into our current home almost two years ago, we left behind a neighborhood of good friends. It was probably the hardest part of the move, especially for my son. Even though we were just a few minutes away, there’s nothing quite like having a buddy right next door. My daughter, on the other hand, gained in the friend department, as we were moving into a community where a handful of her friends already lived.
In the last few months, though, things have changed, and my little guy now has two of his good friends in the neighborhood well within walking distance, just footsteps away! I always say that it takes about two years to really settle in – whether you’re moving cross-country or down the street – and it really is true.
Now that there are more friends close by, the walks and bike rides to school are more jolly, and this morning, I watched them all head off for school, like little ducks, down the street.
Yes, school has begun, and right before, there was a little back to school bash at our elementary school. That day, we happened to have a houseful of friends for a playdate, and I figured, what would make hungry kids happy? Well, Chicken Pesto Pizza.
This pizza comes from my friend Becky Rosenthal from Vintage Mixer, who I wish lived next door to me. Becky and I met in Salt Lake City years ago at ALT Summit, and over the next couple of years, as you probably already know, we’ve kept in touch most especially with the Eat Seasonal roundups she organizes every month. Becky recently published Fast to the Table Freezer Cookbook: Freezer-Friendly Recipes and Frozen Food Shortcuts, and her recipe for Chicken Pesto Pizza has won a place in my family’s heart.
For me, the book is a great reminder of how I underutilize my freezer — but now that we are back to school and busy afternoons, I have been turning to her book quite frequently. The Chicken Pesto Pizza makes use of components that can be made far in advance and stored in the freezer – from the pizza dough (which truly is a wonderful dough and one of my favorites so far), the pesto, the roast chicken, and even the slow-roasted tomatoes. It can also be made with store-bought rotisserie chicken, pesto, and pizza dough (like the one at Trader Joe’s), if you’re in a pinch. I’ve tried it both ways, and it’s a winner for sure.
Right before we headed to the back to school bash, all the kids came into the kitchen as I was wrapping up shooting the pizzas, and you should have heard them! Becky, if you’re reading, thank you. I’ll be making this pizza over and over and over again (I’ve already got several rounds of pizza dough stored in the freezer), and will think of you each time. And if you ever move to California, I know of a neighborhood that would be just perfect ;)
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Fast to the Table Freezer Cookbook: Freezer-Friendly Recipes and Frozen Food Shortcuts for my review. All opinions are, as always, my own. There are affiliate links in this post.
CHICKEN PESTO PIZZA
For the Pizza Dough
- 1 (2 1/4-teaspoon) packet active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 cups bread flour plus more if needed
- 1 1/2 cups warm water 110°F, plus more if needed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the Chicken Pesto Pizza
- 1/2 recipe Pizza Dough
- cornmeal for rolling dough
- 1/3 cup pesto
- 1/2 cup shredded roasted chicken
- 1/3 cup slow-roasted tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- olive oil for brushing
Make the Pizza Dough:
- In a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, combine the yeast, sugar, salt and bread flour. While the dry ingredients are still mixing, add the water, then the olive oil. This will form a large dough ball. If the dough is sticky, you may need add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. If it is too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Once a solid dough ball is formed, move it onto a floured surface and hand knead for or five folds, forming the dough into a ball shape.
- Transfer the dough to a slightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a moist towel, and place in a warm area of your kitchen to let rise for at least 1 hour. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and separate into two equal-size balls. Each ball will form a 14-inch or so pizza. You can use both balls at that time to make two pizzas, or use one and freeze the later use. Or freeze both!
Make the Chicken Pesto Pizza:
- Preheat the oven to 475°F and place a baking stone in the oven, if you have one.
- Roll out the pizza dough on a baking sheet or pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal. Spread the pesto on the pizza dough, then top with the shredded chicken and slow-roasted tomatoes. Sprinkle the cheese over everything. Brush the edge of the pizza dough with a little bit of olive oil. Transfer to the pizza stone or a baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly brown.