I grew up in New York – Long Island to be precise. We don’t take pizza lightly over there, it’s a serious affair. When I think of pizza, I think of Little Vincent’s or Rosa’s (LI), Grimaldi’s or Dozzinos (NJ), Alligator Lounge (Brooklyn) or any of the thousand’s of pizza shops on the side of the street (NYC). I’ve heard the reason that pizza in the NYC area is so good is because of the water. The east coast has certain minerals (or lack of minerals, not sure which) in the water which help the dough maintain a perfect chewiness and achieve a crisp texture when baked. The same theory applies to bagels. In any case, I longed for homemade pizza the other day, so I purchased some Whole Wheat Pizza Dough from Trader Joe’s. Not only because it’s $1, but also because it’s not pre-baked so you can do anything with it. It needs (pun intended) a bit of working but eventually the dough gives in and takes shape. By no means is this an authentic New York pizza, but at least the crust was thin and crispy. As much as I love a plain slice of Little V’s, something about BBQ chicken pizza always gets me. Now step on in and take a look at Peanut Butter Boy’s version…
1 ball of pizza dough
12 oz chicken breast, poached and shredded
Spicy BBQ sauce (I use Stubb’s)
3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/2 red onion, sliced thin and cut in half
10 oz sliced mushrooms
8 oz (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese (or mozzarella)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Split the dough in half (if desired) and place on a floured surface (I used whole wheat flour). Work the dough with your hands, folding it over and pushing it down with your fingertips repeatedly until it begins to hold its shape when flattened. The dough will want to form a ball again, so add flour liberally to prevent this. Also, make sure that the surface underneath the dough is always floured or it will stick. Using 1 ball of dough, I made 4 of those pizza’s you see above, so don’t be afraid that the dough is too thin. Press out to desired thickness and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes.
2. While the dough is pre-baking, sauté the mushrooms in a pan with cooking spray, salt and pepper until the mushrooms are tender. Mix the peanut butter with enough BBQ sauce to make a spreadable sauce.
3. When the dough is done, remove and spread with PBBBQ sauce to cover the crust within 1/2 inch of the edge. Add the mushrooms, chicken and onion rings to the pizza, then dollop the ricotta evenly and top with cheddar cheese. Drizzle the top with a bit of olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and begins to brown.
Don’t throw out those crusts! Keep the container of ricotta next to your plate and spread some on each bite of crust. Or do what I did as a kid and spread butter on the crust. Or, dip the crust in olive oil and salt.