Hi, hello, happy Monday. I hope you’re all staying safe inside and practicing social distancing responsibly. Today I’m here to talk about one of my all-time favorite pizzas: chicken marsala pizza. It’s everything you love about chicken marsala pasta, minus the hassle of pasta, plus the convenience of pizza. It’s awesome.
Many years ago, back when we lived in New Jersey there was a pizza place that made a chicken marsala pizza. In the two years we lived there I think I ordered it maybe 500 times. It was the perfect blend of comfort foods — crisp-but-doughy pizza and the hearty richness of a savory wine-and-mushroom sauce with bite-sized pieces of of chicken dotted across the top.
So when King Arthur Flour announced that their 2020 recipe of the year was a crispy, cheesy pan pizza… I fell in love with it. And I knew I’d found the perfect opportunity to make my own version of that chicken marsala pizza from New Jersey. And omg, y’all. It was even better than I expected.
The no-knead (!!!), slow-rising pizza dough is thick and sturdy, almost like focaccia, which means it can handle a lot of toppings without collapsing on itself. The dough can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to 72 hours before you add your toppings, which means you can make it fit your schedule rather than the other way around.
The marsala sauce is so rich that you don’t need to use that much of it on the pizza, and you’ll likely end up with some extra for another dinner later in the week. And of course it wouldn’t be a pizza without a whole lot of cheese — sweet and earthy fontina with a bit of low-moisture mozzarella — which helps keep the sauce from sogging up the crust, and ensures the pizza can pop seamlessly out of the cast iron it bakes in.
Chicken Marsala Pizza recipe notes
- On mushrooms: Though I enjoy mushroom flavor, I don’t particularly like mushrooms. Whole, sliced, diced, or chopped, they get a no from me. So, after cooking the mushrooms, I send them on a trip through the blender. Where a traditional marsala sauce is a little thinner, more like a broth, this pizza marsala sauce is thickened by the blitzed mushrooms. If you do happen to like mushrooms, save some raw or cooked mushrooms from the blender and use them to top the pizza after you put the sauce down.
- On slicing: King Arthur Flour recommends using scissors — yes, scissors! — to cut this pizza. It’s a good recommendation and I endorse it. To remove the pizza from the pan, I find a thin and flexible fish spatula works well.
- Other crusts: If a thick focaccia-like crust isn’t your preference, sub in any other crust you want. The chicken and sauce are fully cooked before going into the oven, so just follow the baking instructions for whichever crust you do use.
You will need
Chicken Marsala PizzaDifficulty: Medium
You’ll need to make this dough at least a day ahead of time, but that just gives you plenty of time to assemble your sauce and toppings.
Yield: 1¼-ish cups of sauce. You will have extra sauce.
1 recipe King Arthur Flour crispy cheesy pan pizza crust (completed up through step 8)
3 TBSP unsalted butter
4 oz baby bella or brown mushrooms, sliced
1 cup of shredded rotisserie chicken
¾ cup chicken or veggie stock
¾ cup Marsala wine
1 TBSP flour
1 medium shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup grated Fontina cheese, loosely packed
1/2 cup grated low-moisture mozzarella cheese, loosely packed
1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken breast
Fresh oregano leaves for topping
- Marsala sauce
- Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook mushrooms until browned and slightly charred. Transfer mushrooms to blender.
- With the pan still on medium heat, cook garlic and shallots in remaining butter until slightly soft and translucent, about 60 seconds. Add the 1 TBSP flour and stir to cook, about a minute. Then add the marsala wine and stock, stirring to scrape browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add 1/4 tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper, stirring to combine.
- Blend liquid and mushrooms until smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.
- Pizza assembly
- Make your pizza dough according to directions, up through step 8 (2 hours before baking, let the dough rise in a well-oiled cast iron pan). If using a different pizza dough recipe, adjust your timing accordingly.
- Mix the fontina and mozzarella cheeses together in a bowl.
- Preheat oven to 450F with oven racks in the lower and upper third positions.
- 30 minutes before baking top the dough with a layer of shredded cheese blend, covering as much of the visible crust as you can to prevent the sauce from seeping through. Reserve about ¼-½ cup of cheese for later.
- Dollop small spoonfuls of the sauce on over the cheese — about 6-10 dollops is enough. You do not need a lot of sauce for this pizza and you will have about half or more than half of the sauce leftover.
- Layer on the shredded chicken, then top it with the remaining cheese blend and finish with the fresh oregano leaves.
- Bake the pizza on the lower oven rack for 18-20 minutes. When the timer goes off, slide a spatula carefully under the pizza to check the bottom. If it’s crisp and golden brown and pulls away easily from the pan, you can remove it from the oven. If the bottom still seems pale or soft, leave it in the oven for another 2-3 minutes. If the bottom is good, but the top still seems light, transfer the pizza to the upper rack for an additional 2-3 minutes.
As KAF cautions: “Home ovens can vary a lot, so use the visual cues and your own preferences to gauge when you’ve achieved the perfect bake.”
- Remove the pizza from the oven and run a knife around the edge to separate it from the pan. Let the pan cool for 5-10 minutes on a cooling rack, then remove the pizza from the pan so that the crust doesn’t get soggy. The pizza is pretty sturdy so you might be able to do this with one large spatula and a lot of confidence — otherwise use two spatulas and work quickly to transfer the pizza to a serving platter or onto the cooling rack.
- Slice the pizza using kitchen shears (seriously, it totally works) and serve it while it’s still warm.
- If a thick focaccia-like crust isn’t your preference, sub in any other crust you want. The chicken and sauce are fully cooked before going into the oven, so just follow the baking instructions for whichever crust you do use.
- If you do happen to like mushrooms, save some raw or cooked mushrooms from the blender and use them to top the pizza after you put the sauce down.