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Monday, December 13, 2010

White Chicken Pizza

French bread snow day:

There is a place here at home where white pizza isn't just sinful, it's down right damnation on a plate. My brother and I have been known to consume 3/4 of an entire pizza even before we sit down to pasta. It's just impossible to stop and say, "gosh let me save room for that amazing pasta with a whole head of garlic and two bushels of mushrooms bathed in the finest imported olive oil." I mean, who does that? There is always more room when you're eating pasta.

The restaurant is minute, housing two booths and maybe a half dozen tables. The line is, typically, out the door and the wait is even longer. It is totally worth it. I just wish I was taller, so I could better observe the white pizza preparation through the crowd. From what I can tell they dredge the dough in olive oil, scrub the crust with garlic, smear it with a blend of cheeses and bake it until the crust blisters and curls without a sprig of parsley in sight. Heaven. Bliss. Oh dear. Bottom line: it is the best and only white pizza I have ever let anywhere close to my waist line. Well, that is a little exaggeration; I love white pizza, in a fiery red pepper flake kind of way.

For me, the most important part is attaining an equally crispy and chewy crust. And, although I have a real weakness for making crust by hand, because it is one of those times I feel like a real chef, I love a good French bread pizza for reasons of taste as well as convenience. Make it a white pizza and I'm there. What could be easier, or more inexplicably crusty, chewy and soft all at the same time? Using a baguette also cuts prep time in half; you can even use your crumb catching toaster oven! Because, as college students I'm sure you aren't using it enough already... Just be kind to your fastidious type-A roommate, (every apartment has one) and use a little tin foil this time. Oozey, blackened bubbles of cheese are a real pain to clean.

The complexities of a good crust aside, this recipe is as close to delicious as we kitchen peons will ever get when it comes to a great pizza.
Just be generous with the garlic, and sparing on anything that will make the bread sink and get slimy. Less is more when it comes to cheese, mainly because cheese brings extra oil to the table when it gets hot. Personally, I really dig the idea of smearing the bread with a film of ricotta cheese; because, I love it. But, if you don't have any on hand, or don't feel like buying it, you can always skip it. This pizza is best hot, straight from the oven. Adding the chicken brings the pizza up to speed with a simple dinner, but you can even cut it into smaller squares and serve it as an appetizer with a little white wine: something citrusy and crisp like a sauvignon blanc. But, that's just me wanting a glass of the grapefruit heavy sauvignon blanc I had in Charleston once. Oh dear.

PS> Happy snow day for those of you who are experiencing winter weather!

Variation on a recipe by Rachael Ray + my dreams and imagination

1 loaf French bread, split
1/2 cup pre-cooked chicken
1/3 cup ricotta cheese (optional)
olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
fresh parsley
black pepper

1. Preheat the broiler to high.
2. Split the loaf of bread in half and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle the cut side of the bread with olive oil, according to your preference.
3. Toast the bread 1-2 minutes under the broiler. Remove from the heat and rub vigorously with garlic.
4. Smear the toasted garlic bread with a thin layer of ricotta cheese, if using it. Don't put too much on or the bread will get soggy. Top the ricotta cheese with the chicken and a layer of Parmesan.
5. Put the pizza back under the broiler for another 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and the bread looks toasted. While it is toasting chop the parsley.
6. Top the warm pizza with fresh cracked black pepper and the parsley. Serve very warm.


  1. I just figured out why I like you blog. Its because you write food porn. I feel really smart right now....and hungry..

  2. Deep down, SPUDS are dirty vegetables :-)