Written by Tom Brooks, director of food and beverage at The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort and Spa.

Sometimes you get inspiration in unexpected places. The other day I was concocting a recipe for this week’s Savorvore theme, “Backyard Pizza Hearth,” when I walked into the office of one of my colleagues. Immediately I noticed the marvelous smell of fresh pesto mingled with the unmistakable aroma of pizza.

“Whatcha eatin’ there?” I asked.

Collin Parker, our marketing coordinator, told me it was leftover pizza he had thrown together the night before, with “a little sauteed chicken, some sauteed mushrooms, pesto, mozzarella cheese … .”

It looked good, smelled even better, and tasted incredible! (He offered a bite, and I just couldn’t refuse!) And just like that, I’d found my Savorvore recipe. Well, yes, it’s his recipe, but we’re all friends here, and what’s a little co-opting between friends?

If you’ve never tried cooking pizza on a grill, it’s definitely worth giving a shot. Not only does your house stay cooler (and can’t we all use that right about now?), it gives the pizza a nice outdoorsy (in a good way) taste.

Just make sure you use a pizza pan, spray the grill liberally with non-stick spray, or brush it with olive oil. There’s not much that’s worse than having a big ol’ pizza stuck to your grill.

And now that you have a basic recipe, feel free to try it with your favorite pizza ingredients.


Recipe: Chicken-Mushroom Pesto Pizza
One-half pound chicken (one large breast), cubed
3 tablespoons pesto
3-4 large fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons fresh basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 fresh or frozen 14- to 16-inch pizza crust

Saute chicken in olive oil over medium heat. Add fresh basil, salt and pepper. When chicken is almost cooked through, add mushrooms. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, and set aside. Set grill to medium heat. Roll out dough (sprinkle with flour so it doesn’t stick), and transfer to pizza plate. Spread the pesto onto the dough, add the cheese, and then top with chicken and mushrooms. Sprinkle another thin layer of cheese, and then place pizza onto grill. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.