What comes to mind when you think of gourmet pizza? Something served at a fancy restaurant? Pizza toppings from an exotic country? As I shared before, homemade pizza can be transformed into a gourmet meal with the right technique. What else can you do? Steer clear of the standard marinara sauce and use a different flavor to give your pizza new life.

Homemade Pizza Dough

Before we get to three different types of sauces to try, I thought another homemade pizza dough recipe would be fun to share. This one comes from Rick Bayless.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup room-temperature water
  • 1/3 cup beer—a light lager is good here
  • A few Tablespoons good-quality olive oil

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, yeast and salt. Measure in the water and beer. Stir to combine everything into a rough-looking mass. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.

Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Generously oil a 13 x 18 rimmed baking sheet (what’s called a “half sheet pan”). Use a rubber spatula to gently deflate the dough (it will have risen) and scrape it out onto the baking sheet. Gently coax & stretch the dough—nudging and tugging—into an even rectangle about 9 by 13 inches.

Spread on the sauce, leaving a 1-inch border around the outside of the pizza dough. Scatter on your toppings of choice and bake in the middle of the oven until puffy and brown, about 25 minutes.

Download and print the recipe here.

Mole Shrimp Gourmet Pizza

This Mole Shrimp Pizza is delicious!

This Mole Shrimp Pizza is delicious!

Not sure what to do with leftover mole sauce? Why not put it on your pizza? Add toppings like shrimp coated in Old Bay and chili powder, slivers of red onion, herb goat cheese, Cotija cheese and toasted sesame and pumpkin seeds. Garnish it with avocado and cilantro once you pull it out of the oven.

Download and print the recipe here.

Chicken Alfredo Gourmet Pizza with Spinach and Onion

Doesn't this Chicken Alfredo Pizza look divine?

Doesn’t this Chicken Alfredo Pizza look divine?

With baseball season right around the corner, this is a great gourmet pizza to enjoy while watching a Giants game and drinking an ice-cold beer. Try this recipe from A Sweet Pea Chef along with my suggested changes (below).

For the Garlic Alfredo Sauce:

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 package cream cheese, softened and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 oz. parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Directions:

Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add the milk, a little at a time, whisking until smooth. Stir in the Parmesan and pepper. Season with kosher salt, if needed. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken quickly.

For the Pizza:

  • 1 pizza crust (see recipe above)
  • Alfredo sauce (see recipe above)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus extra to season chicken
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper plus extra to season chicken
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, whole
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 chicken breast, boneless and skinless
  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • Fresh basil leaves, julienned, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick skillet to medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken breast generously with kosher salt and pepper. Cook chicken breast in skillet until no longer pink in the middle, about 8-10 minutes. Once cooked, allow chicken to cool and then slice into bite-size pieces. Set aside for later.

Spread the Alfredo sauce over the pizza dough, leaving about 1/2 inch around the outside edge for the crust. Sprinkle sauce with oregano, basil, thyme, salt and pepper.

Spread the baby spinach leaves evenly across the pizza. Arrange the onion slices and sliced chicken over the spinach. Top with mozzarella slices.

Place the pizza into the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the crust edges are golden and the cheese is melted. After taking the pizza out of the oven, allow it to cool for a few minutes so that the cheese has time to set. Garnish with fresh, julienned basil leaves if desired. Slice pizza and serve.

Dinner Diva Tips:

Here are the changes I recommend:

  1. Cut the chicken breast in half so it’s not as thick and marinate it in garlic, ginger, lime juice and olive oil. Grill before adding it to the pizza.
  2. Use pearl mozzarella (it’s easier to add than needing to cut slices).

Download and print the recipe here.

Enchilada Gourmet Pizza

Why not try this recipe for Enchilada Pizza?

Why not try this recipe for Enchilada Pizza?

This creation is a combination of a few recipes: red pepper sauce, shrimp using this rub (recipes below), Rick Bayless pizza dough (recipe above) and toppings of Cotija cheese, red onion, pumpkin seeds, Mexican oregano and cilantro and queso fresco after just 5 minutes in the oven.

Here’s the red pepper sauce recipe from Rick Bayless:

Ingredients:

  • 2 large red peppers (approximately 1 pound)
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil (divided use)
  • 1 large white onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 4 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 2 medium (1 ounce) Ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into flat pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 canned chipotle chile in adobe sauce, seeded (optional)
  • Salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the whole red peppers, onion slices and garlic on a large rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle on 1 Tablespoon olive oil and toss so that all the vegetables are coated with the oil. Place in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are golden brown and the peppers are blackened in places. You may need to remove the garlic cloves earlier.

Meanwhile, set a skillet over medium heat. When hot, toast the chile pieces a few at a time, pressing them to the hot surface with a spatula until they are aromatic and lightened in color underneath—about 10 seconds per side (if you see more than a whiff of smoke, they are burning). Transfer the toasted Anchos to a bowl, cover with hot water, and place a plate on top of the chiles to keep them submerged. Soak for 20 minutes, drain and discard the soaking liquid. Transfer to a blender.

Place the roasted red peppers in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let cool. After 5 minutes, rub off the blackened skins and discard the seeds. Place in the blender along with the Anchos. Scoop in the roasted onions, garlic and the chipotle chile, if using. Pour in the sherry wine vinegar, remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup water and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Blend until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. It’ll keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

And here’s the rub recipe from The Black Peppercorn:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons chipotle powder
  • 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar

Directions:

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container like a mason jar. Use on shrimp, chicken, pork or other meats.

Download and print the recipe here.

Curious how else you can create gourmet pizza? Stay tuned for two more posts, which will include instructions for grilling a pizza and how to use your leftovers to make a delicious homemade masterpiece.

Mary Hathaway, Owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to: Dinner-Diva.com for more info.