Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Chicken Alfredo Pizza Roll



     The Kingdom of Jordan, as a whole, does not celebrate Christmas with Christians comprising a mere 6% of the population; and even though it is a member of the Holy Lands and claims a shore of the Jordan River, Santas and decorated trees are hard to find.  Oddly Santa-masked volunteers decked out in red suits and elegant lighted and bedecked Christmas trees do mark the season in the big western hotel lobbies, but we found it was best to stay inside one's own home and create our own Christmas magic on Dec. 25th.  To go outside on a shortsleeve afternoon amid the everyday bustle, quickly dilluted the holiday illusion.
     On one particularly lonely Christmas, far away from traditional family celebrations and festivities, in our efforts to create holiday memories, my family realized we were actually very near the site of the first Christmas, just 45 miles as the crow flies and also that there were forests of Christmas trees in-the -raw, on  some of the mountainsides near Amman.  One quandry remained:  we all insisted that we must have the traditional turkey dinner with hot mashed potatoes and gravy but how to keep our dinner warm in the cool forest?  The solution: our large picnic cooler could serve equally well as a picnic warmer ......and the Christmas Picnic was born!  Sitting eating warm candied yams as we shivered among the pine trees, the day became "Christmas" for us as we gazed toward the west in the general direction of Judea and sang every song our children knew with the word"Bethlehem" in it.  
      What does the Christmas Picnic have to do with a pizza roll?  Just an illustration suggesting that sometimes we make great memories and great foods by shaking up tradition a bit.  This hand-friendly rolled pizza is a delicious way to do that. It serves up equally well as a "grab a bite and sit by the fire" snack on a cold evening.  Reminiscent of other filled breads, such as the Russian pirowshki, the Arab fateyah or even Panini, it pairs nicely with soup. Admittedly, you could pick up a pizza on the way to your picnic venue, but a rather prosaic choice, lacking in imagination.  There is just a certain breed of cook possessing a singular gene that wants to create and share - it is the "love language" of such types, that speaks, "I did this for you" and relishes watching the eater enjoy it!







Chicken Fettucine Pizza Roll:
1 large shallot, peeled and finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 large red pepper, diced
1/3 cup quartered artichoke hearts
3 tab. butter
3 tab. flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken
4 oz. sliced mushrooms, sauteed in 1 tab. butter until soft
2 tab. minced parsley

-Melt 3 tab. butter in medium saucepan and saute shallots and garlic about 5 minutes, until soft.  Stir in flour and cook, stirring about 2 minutes.  Mix in chicken broth and bring to a siimer, until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in cream and parmesan cheese.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper.  Add red pepper, artichoke hears, cubed chicken, mushrooms and parsley to alfredo sauce and stir.

-Roll out pizza dough to a rectangle about 14 by 10 inches.  Spoon filling down lengthwise center of dough.  Beginning at a long edge, carefully roll dough around the filling to form a long filled bread roll.  Press seams firmly together and place on well greased heavy cookie sheet with raised edges, sprinkled with cornmeal.  Cover and let rest for 25 minutes.

-Place the pizza roll in a 380 degree oven and let bake 30 - 35 minutes, until the roll is puffy and golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let sit 5 minutes.  Brush the surface with olive oil and sprinkle on garlic powder/and or Italian seasonings and coarsely grated black pepper.  Let continue to rest another 10 minutes.  Serve warm or cold.  Slice to serve.  Serves 8.


Pizza Crust Dough:
1 tab. yeast
1 tab. granulated sugar
2/3 cup warm water (warm but not hot to the touch)
1/2 cup warm milk (warm but not hot to the touch)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups bread flour, more or less

-In a large bowl (or bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook), mix the yeast, sugar water, milk, oil, salt and one cup of the flour until well combined.
-Gradually add the remaining flour until a soft dough is formed. It will pull away from the sides of the bowl to form a ball but still be slightly soft to the touch.  Knead the dough for 4-5 minutes until it is soft and smooth.
-Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap; let rise until doubled, about an hour or so.  Punch dough down and shape into a smooth long roll, about 8 - 10 inches.  Cover with a cloth or plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes (this helps relax the gluten so it is easier to roll out).
-On a lightly greased or floured counter, roll the dough about 1/8-inch thick into a large rectangle, about 14 by 10 inches. 






Italian Sausage, Pepper and Mushroom Pizza Roll:
8 ounces sweet Italian sausage
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup each, chopped red and green pepper
1 cup pizza sauce
2 cups grated mozarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup sliced olives
4 ounces, sliced fresh mushrooms

-Crumble sausage in lightly oiled saute pan and cook over medium heat, until browned, breaking up with wooden spoon.  Drain well and set aside.

-In another saute pan, heat 2 tab. olive oil.  Add onion and peppers and saute until soft, about 5 minutes over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and continue to cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat. In separate sauté pan, heat 1 tab. butter and saute mushroom slices until soft.


-Roll out dough according to directions.  Spread sauce evenly over the dough then sprinkle ingredients down one long edge of the rolled dough. Beginning at a long edge, carefully roll dough around the filling to form a long filled bread roll.  Press seams firmly together and place on well greased heavy cookie sheet with raised edges, sprinkled with cornmeal.  Cover and let rest for 25 minutes.

-Place the pizza roll in a 380 degree oven and let bake 30 - 35 minutes, until the roll is puffy and golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let sit 5 minutes.  Brush the surface with olive oil and sprinkle on garlic powder/and or Italian seasonings and coarsely grated black pepper.  Let continue to rest another 10 minutes.  Serve warm or cold.  Slice to serve.  Serves 8.




Persnickety PS:

**Purchased pizza sauce could certainly be used as a shortcut as well as prepared pizza dough found in some stores in the refrigerator or deli section.

**When shaping the roll, try to keep the dough from being rolled in with the filling.  The dough should encase the filling - otherwise the dough in the middle will not cook evenly.

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