Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

Gluten-Free Chicken Pesto Pizza featuring Bella Pizza & Foccacia Mix

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Andy and I always celebrate our monthaversary with a special dinner (either at a restaurant or by either of us cooking something that we don’t indulge in everyday). This month, I made one of Andy’s favorite foods and one of the things he used to eat most before going Paleo. Pizza! We both love pesto, but just don’t eat it that often either because it’s usually found on top of bread or pasta. Both no-nos of course. So we compromised with a rice and potato-based gluten-free mix and cauliflower blend for the crust. This time, I used Bella Gluten-Free Pizza Dough, Rolls and Focaccia Mix.

Bella Gluten-Free was founded by Mary Capone, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo last month, and who is also a celiac chef and mom of celiac children. She wanted “to create baking mixes that were beautifully tasting, heavenly in texture and wonderfully nutritious.” I have to say that of all the pizzas/crusts at the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo, Mary’s was the best. And that’s coming from Andy Harris, who basically subsisted on two food groups–pizza and beer!!–during his span of running 23 marathons. ;) Andy selflessly (haha!) tasted over 5 slices of pizza at the show to bring you the report back. I did get to try the Bella Gluten-Free Mix at the show and was so impressed I wanted to feature it here on cavegrrl.com, despite its rice base. I think it’s a great product, and the bottom line is that it doesn’t have wheat.

So here’s what I did to make the pizza! PS: About the pizza I made with this mix, Andy said: “I ate the rest of that pizza today, and I swear it was the best pizza I’ve
ever eaten.  That was wicked!!!”

FYI: One package of Bella Gluten-Free Pizza Dough, Rolls and Focaccia Mix makes two 14” pizzas or two 9” focaccia or 12 hamburger or sandwich buns.

Crust:
1/2 package Bella Gluten-Free Pizza Dough, Rolls and Focaccia Mix
2 tsp Mayacamas Gluten-Free Pesto Mix
5 eggs
1 head cauliflower
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese

Line a pizza pan with parchment paper and preheat oven to 385°F.

Follow Bella Gluten-Free Pizza Dough package directions for 1/2 the package. Steam cauliflower in the microwave until it is “falling apart” tender. Allow to cool. Pulse the cooled cauliflower in your food processor with the rest of the ingredients until they are well combined.

Spread onto lined pizza pan and place in oven to bake until raised and slightly browned. Meanwhile, prepare your pesto topping! When your crust does become slightly browned, you will want to remove from oven, but keep oven on, as you will be using it again to bake the pizza after you top the crust.

Pesto:
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3 tablespoons minced garlic
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil (do not skimp on quality here!)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place the nuts and garlic in your food processor. Pulse together until the texture is slightly grainy. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly puréed. Add the Parmesan cheese and puree until well combined.

Topping:
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 red onion
1 1/2 cups mushrooms
2 chicken breasts (4 oz each)
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

Slice onion and sauté it in a heated skillet with the olive oil. Add the salt and the mushrooms. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Once the onions are translucent, add the balsamic vinegar and cook a little further. Then add the chicken and cook until it is browned. Turn off stovetop and allow to rest.

Assemble the pizza:
Grate as much mozzarella as you like (we used about 1 cup)
Spread the pesto evenly on the the pizza crust, and top with the chicken, onion, mushroom mixture. Then top with the mozzarella cheese.
Return the pizza to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, allowing the cheese to melt and the toppings to heat through.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving. If you can wait that long… :)
Wine pairing: Sangiovese from Vino Noceto (with the pizza) and an Assyrtiko from Gaia Estate, Santorini, Greece (with the salad). PS: On our salad, we’re still loving extra virgin olive oil and the Auntie Si’s Lemongrass Vinegar!

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