I was born in Jersey, and raised on Long Island, with an Italian mom. So, yeah. I like pizza.
But as much as I like a good New York-style foldable slice, covered in thick cheese and loads of garlic and mushrooms, I like this kind even more…
The bakery I used to work in might have deemed this a focaccia, but in my world this is deep dish garden pizza heaven.
This is what we eat during the time of year when the garden is giving us more than we can handle. The ingredients vary a little each time we make it, depending on what is ripe and ready at any given moment. It also boasts the added bonus of being really easy and quick to make, which comes in super handy these days. The convenience of take-out and fast food is SO tempting, so I’m glad I have this favorite to turn to, because most of the other easy options are just plain crap.
On this particular day, the yellow pear tomatoes were abundant, the Brandywines were just reaching perfection, and the basil was beginning to get out of control. We also had some garden garlic that had dried to perfection out in the sun.
So, I picked up some store-bought pizza crust dough (gasp!) and an all-natural rotisserie chicken (the key on weeknights is “easy.”) Even though I have cut way, way back on dairy, a pizza’s gotta have cheese, so I also grabbed exactly 4 little fresh mozzarella balls (the ones that are about the size of a cherry tomato) which was more than adequate.
Rotisserie chickens usually yield enough lean, white meat for 2 pizzas (more if you’re a good picker, which I’m not), which is pretty cost-effective considering the time and energy savings of not having to cook it at home. So I cut what I needed from the chicken and tossed it with the yellow pear tomatoes, halved, and the Brandywine, cut into bite-sized chunks. I drizzled them all with olive oil and a good shake of oregano, sea salt and pepper.
This is the part where my deep dish baking stone from Pampered Chef gets to shine. That thing makes such a nice, perfectly baked pizza (and phenomenal cinnamon rolls!) and it just might be one of my favorite kitchen items.
After pushing the garlic through a press, I rubbed it on the crust, and piled my chicken and veggies on top. Then, I baked it according to the package instructions (the ones on the crust package.) About 5 minutes before it finished, I cut up the mozzarella balls with kitchen scissors, then rolled and sliced the basil, chiffonade-style, and scattered both about the top of the pizza. I like to add them at the very end because they are way too delicate to endure the entire baking time.
A few minutes later, the house was filled with the fragrance of fresh tomato, basil and garlic. Pure heaven.
What I love about this recipe is that it’s not a recipe. It’s just a simple, budget-friendly way to use what we have, enjoy what’s fresh, and give my family a meal that’s easy without sacrificing quality or taste. And when our boy is old enough, he can not only help us eat it, but he can help make it, too, with the vegetables he helped us grow. You just don’t get that sense of satisfaction out of a box.
Any suggestions on how I can healthy up this crust? I need an easy option, but haven’t found a good store-bought whole wheat yet.
What would you top this pizza with in your kitchen?