I’m a pizza aficionado and self-proclaimed expert. I grew up in New York eating the best pizza in the country so I feel like a have very good reference point by which I make these claims. After moving away from home I was forced to start making my own pie since Papa John’s, Domino’s, and sub par local pizza joints didn’t quite make the cut. After making four moves in the past 10 years we’ve finally settled in Austin. Even though Austin boasts a busy restaurant scene, the options for a decent New York style pizza are still relatively lacking. Homeslice, Little Deli and Brooklyn Pie Company are viable options with the latter being my current favorite. I still make pizza at home on a regular basis since take-out from most of these places isn’t especially convenient.
I like to experiment with different pizza toppings. I’ll take a traditional recipe and reformat it for pizza. For instance, I recently made a shakshuka and merguez sausage pizza. Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern dish of eggs baked in tomato sauce with herbs and peppers. Instead of using a pan or a dish, I used pizza crust as the cooking vessel. The results were delicious and you can see a video of the final result here. This week I’ve taken the same approach with my chicken Marsala pizza recipe. You’d think of chicken Marsala as a dish to serve with a side of pasta, veggies or even mashed potatoes but it has all the necessary components for a good pizza including sauce, mushrooms and chicken; all I needed was to add some cheese.
When I make a pizza, mozzarella is the standard choice for a regular pie. For this chicken Marsala pizza, I used fontina to add some additional flavor. Fontina is also a great melting cheese. For all my pizzas I avoid using part-skim milk cheese at all costs. When cooked at high temperatures I find the end result is an odd, shiny, plastic-like consistency, rather than the stringy and gooey consistency pizza cheese should have. Pre-shredded, packaged cheeses also contain starch to help keep the cheese from sticking together. While cornstarch is often used to aid in helping cheese melt in dishes like fondue, I’ve wondered if the starch might also contribute to the final consistency of the cheese. Buying pieces of whole-milk cheese and shredding it ensures melty, cheesy goodness.
I’m planning a post in the near future about making New York style pizza at home including tips and tricks for a flavorful, properly cooked crust. In the meantime, enjoy this chicken marsala pizza recipe.
CHICKEN MARSALA PIZZA
- oil for cooking
- 8 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 6 ounces chicken cutlets
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1/3 cup marsala wine
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 15 ounces prepared pizza dough
- 6.5 ounces (0.4 pounds) shredded fontina cheese
- Heat two teaspoons of oil in a medium-sized skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook 4-5 minutes until they give up their moisture and begin to brown. Turn down the heat to medium and add the shallots cooking for another 1-2 minutes until the shallots soften. Then add the garlic and cook until fragrant another 30 seconds. Remove the mixture from the pan and set aside. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook in a preheated skillet over medium heat for about 4 minutes a side until browned and cooked through. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes and then cut into 1/2 inch cubes. In the same pan, add the tomato paste and let it caramelize (but not burn), cooking for 30 seconds. Deglaze with the wine and reduce by half. Add the flour to the chicken broth and whisk together. Add the chicken broth to the pan. Once boiling, whisk in the butter and cook until thickened. The total yield of sauce should be 5 ounces of sauce.
- Place a pizza stone on the top rack of the oven and preheat at 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes. Roll out the pizza dough to a 15 inch round diameter. Lay the dough on a floured pizza peel. Top the pizza with the sauce, cheese and mushroom mixture. Slide the pizza onto the pizza stone. Once the pizza begins to brown, top with the chicken and finish cooking until the crust is browned about 10 minutes total.
- Let the pizza rest for a few minutes before cutting.