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Smoked Chicken Pizza with Red Pepper Pesto

  • ACTIVE: 1 HR 15 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS 30 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 8
  • STAFF-FAVORITE

E. Michael Reidt's favorite new toy at The Huntley hotel, a superhot wood-burning oven, helped him solve a perpetual problem in his kitchen: What to do with leftover chicken? Now he smokes the meat and tosses it with a roasted-red-pepper pesto and goat cheese to make a topping for his wickedly addictive flatbread pizzas.

Red Pepper Sauce

  1. 1 head of garlic, top third sliced off and discarded
  2. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  3. 1 red bell pepper
  4. 1/2 cup basil leaves
  5. 1 tablespoon oregano leaves
  6. Salt and freshly ground pepper

Pizza

  1. 1 pound pizza dough
  2. All-purpose flour, for dusting
  3. 1/2 pound smoked chicken breast, shredded (2 cups)
  4. 1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  5. 6 ounces Manchego cheese, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
  6. 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
  7. Arugula leaves, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the head of garlic, cut side up, on a double sheet of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the foil around the garlic and bake until the cloves are very soft, about 1 hour. Let cool. Squeeze the garlic onto a plate.
  2. Roast the red pepper directly over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning frequently, until charred all over. Transfer the pepper to a plate to cool. Discard the charred skin, seeds and core and coarsely chop the pepper. In a food processor, puree the pepper with the roasted garlic, basil, oregano and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, cut the pizza dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Flatten each ball, dust with flour and roll out to a 5-inch round. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Set a pizza stone on the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 500° for at least 45 minutes. Flour a pizza peel. Place a dough round on the peel and roll it out to an 1/8-inch thickness. Spread 2 tablespoons of the red pepper sauce over the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Scatter 1/2 cup of the shredded chicken and one-fourth of the red pepper strips over the pizza, then top with 1/2 cup of the Manchego and 1/4 cup of the goat cheese. Slide the pizza onto the hot stone and bake until browned on the bottom and bubbling on top, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, scatter some arugula leaves on top and cut into pieces. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.
Make Ahead The red pepper sauce can be refrigerated overnight.

Suggested Pairing

When a white wine tastes smoky, that's usually because it was aged in barrels that have been charred on the inside, but the Pinot Gris variety can have a smoky character all its own—an ideal complement to this smoked chicken pizza.

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