As I thought about what I might put together, I remembered back to when we were very first married. One of the meals we would make were grilled chicken sandwiches. I would marinate the chicken breasts in Italian dressing and then broil the chicken in the oven. Nothing fancy but it was definitely a go-to meal for me then that we liked a lot.
At that same time in my life, a friend of mine had me over for dinner one night and made pizza. She didn’t use sauce, just olive oil and it was delicious. (This is the same friend who gave me the Uncle Tony’s Pizza Crust recipe…that night was the first time I ate that crust! And, yes, she really did have an Uncle Tony and he really was Italian.) I digress, back to the pizza…it was the first time I had a tomato sauceless pizza and it opened up a whole new pizza world to me.
Thinking fondly on those early days of marriage and learning to cook, I decided to combine these two memories into one recipe. I made pizza that uses Italian dressing as the “sauce,” instead of just straight up olive oil. And then I used all the ingredients that I normally would have put on the chicken sandwich. And with that, the Italian Chicken Panini Pizza was born!
The pizza was yummy. It had a nice light flavor and hit the spot. I used the Newman’s Own Lighten Up Italian dressing and it worked great! I named the pizza Italian Chicken Panini Pizza because Panini sounds more Italian than Sandwich.
- Uncle Tony’s Pizza Crust or other pizza crust that you like
- Newman’s Own Light Italian Dressing
- 1-2 grilled chicken breasts, sliced, seasoned with salt & pepper prior to grilling (you could even marinate the chicken in the Italian dressing before grilling as well)
- 1-2 tomatoes, sliced
- Couple handfuls of fresh spinach
- Mozzarella cheese
- Prepare your crust. Spread 2-3 tablespoons of Italian dressing on the crust instead of tomato sauce. Top with spinach, chicken and tomatoes then the cheese.
- Bake in the oven on a pizza stone with your oven at the highest temperature it will go (mine goes to 500 degrees), about 8-10 minutes…until crust browns and cheese is bubbly.
- When I used the above pizza crust recipe, I made 4 medium sized pizzas – two of them plain cheese, two of them Italian Chicken Panini…for two Italian Chicken Panini pizzas I used 1 large tomato and 1 chicken breast.