Do you have a recipe that is just plain fun to make? Sure it tastes good, but the “doing” is a special part? For me, it is grilled pizza. It takes a little time, but it really is fun to make—and the eating is sublime. My husband, David and I share the task, share some conversation time, and then share a great meal. What else could you ask for?
Last weekend we made a grilled chicken and vegetable pizza. I made the pizza sauce and pizza crust while the chicken and vegetables grilled. Then, since the stone can’t go on a hot grill, you are forced to step away, relax, talk to each other, talk to the neighbors and finish your glass of wine.
When grilling pizza there isn’t an exact cooking time, so you experiment a little—and that to me is part of the fun. I use a gas grill with three burners. Put the pizza stone on a cold grill and allow them to preheat together. For the most even heat, I put the crust on the hot stone, cover the grill, and turn off the middle burner. This maintains a temperature in the grill of about 375° to 400°F. I flip the crust after 2 to 3 minutes—when the bottom crust is golden and crispy. Then, add the sauce, toppings and cheese quickly and cover the grill. Allow it to bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bottom crust is golden brown and baked. Thin and crispy crust, rustic in shape, and pure perfection to eat!
Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Pizza Topping
1 boneless skinless chicken breast half
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into strips about 1/2 x 2-inches
6 to 8 whole mushrooms, sliced
1 sweet yellow onion, halved and sliced
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
Pound chicken until very thin and place in a zip-top bag. Place all of the vegetables in a second zip-top bag. Combine the olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Pour half over the chicken and half over the vegetables. Seal each bag and shake to coat evenly. Allow to stand about 10 to 15 minutes.
Preheat the grill to medium high or allow coals to burn down to white ash. Place a grill basket over half of the grate. Grill the chicken for 3 to 5 minutes per side or meat thermometer registers 165 ° and meat is no longer pink. Remove to a board and cover with aluminum foil.
Pour vegetables into the grill basket. Grill for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the vegetables are as tender as desired. Remove from grill and place in a bowl.
Turn the grill off and allow it to cool completely. Thinly slice chicken.
Note: If desired, grill chicken and vegetables one night, then cover and refrigerate overnight. If you allow the grill to cool longer than about 30 minutes, refrigerate chicken and vegetables until ready to gill the pizza. If chilled, microwave cooked chicken and vegetables 1 to 2 minutes before placing on the pizza.
Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Pizza
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon instant or rapid rise yeast
1- 1/4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup warm water
1- 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3/4 cup pizza sauce (see recipe below)
Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Pizza Topping (see recipe above)
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
1/3 cup minced fresh basil
1 cup shredded 5 cheese Italian blend or pizza cheese
Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic; set aside.
Put yeast, sugar, salt and water in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse quickly. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and pulse quickly. Add flour and Italian seasoning and process until the mixture forms a ball of dough, about 10 to 15 seconds. (The dough will be sticky.)
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead once or twice to make a smooth ball. Brush the top of the dough very lightly with about 1 teaspoon olive oil – garlic mixture. Cover with a towel and allow to stand in a warm place 30 minutes.
Place a pizza or baking stone on the grill. Preheat grill to medium heat (about 375 to 400° F.)
Roll out dough on a lightly floured board until very thin and circle is about 14-inches. Lightly dust a pizza peel with cornmeal. Transfer pizza crust to the peel.
Carefully, slide pizza crust onto the hot stone on a preheated grill. Cover grill and bake 2 to 3 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Turn crust and quickly brush with garlic-olive oil mixture. Spread with pizza sauce, then top with grilled chicken and vegetable topping, sliced tomato, basil and cheese. Cover and bake 7 to 9 minutes or until bottom is golden brown and cheese is melted.
Carefully slide pizza onto pizza peel and cut into serving portions.
Makes 1 (12-inch) pizza
Be sure to have a tray of all the ingredients, toppings and utensils assembled; once the pizza crust is on the grill it cooks quickly you will want to minimize the time the grill cover is open.
If desired, make classic grilled Margarita pizza by topping the pizza with the sauce, sliced tomato, basil and cheese; omit chicken and vegetables.
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Pour tomatoes, with liquid, into a food processor or blender; process until very finely chopped and mixture is almost smooth.
Heat oil in a small saucepan. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently until onion is tender, about 3 to 5 minutes; watch carefully so garlic does not brown. Pour in tomatoes, and remaining ingredients. Simmer over low 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Makes about 1- 1/2 cups or enough for 2 (12-inch) pizzas.
Use tomato paste from a tube (such as Amore Tomato Paste) so you can easily store the unused portion in the refrigerator for another recipe.
Cover and refrigerate sauce for use in 3 to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months; thaw overnight in refrigerator.