Gigi "Skizza" with Arugula Pesto, Ricotta, and Chicken
Recipe created by Laura Pensiero
Servings: Serves 4
  • 1 1/2 cups packed baby arugula , plus extra leaves for garnish (optional)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic , peeled
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 anchovy fillet (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or oregano or parsley (or a mix)
  • 4 (8-inch) very thin whole wheat pitas
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (optional)
  • 6 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts , cooked and very thinly sliced
Note: The Gigi staff make their own unleavened dough for this crust. We suggest pita; pizza dough or wheat tortillas also work.

Preheat oven to 450°. To make pesto, put arugula, 1/2 of olive oil, and garlic in a food processor; pulse a few times. Add pine nuts, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, anchovy (if using), and salt and pepper to taste; pulse to combine. With motor running, add rest of oil to make a puree.

In a bowl, combine ricotta, herbs, rest of zest, and salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange pitas in a single layer on 2 large baking sheets. Spread 1 side of each with pesto, then scatter mozzarella (if using) over pesto, fan chicken on top, and dot with ricotta mixture; bake until browned and bubbly, 5 to 7 minutes. Garnish with extra arugula leaves; serve.

Recipe variations:

Replace toppings with...

  • Spring, version 1: Chopped cooked clams and baby spinach.
  • Spring, version 2: Tomato sauce, mozzarella, cooked shrimp, pea shoots, and red chili flakes.
  • Summer: Eggplant caponata, oil-cured tuna, and red chili flakes.
  • Fall, version 1: Sliced roasted sweet potatoes, prosciutto, and fresh sage.
  • Fall, version 2: Braised kale, sliced Spanish chorizo, and blue cheese.
  • Winter, version 1: Sliced roast beef, horseradish, and pickled onions.
  • Winter, version 2: Goat cheese, mozzarella, preserved figs, pears, arugula, and white truffle oil.
  • All year round: Oven-roasted seasonal vegetables and Pecorino Romano.
From Hudson Valley Mediterranean: The Gigi Good Food Cookbook, by Laura Pensiero. Copyright (c) 2009 by Laura Pensiero. Published by William Morrow Cookbooks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.