Todd English’s Rustic Pizza
Handmade Artisan Pies from Your Own Kitchen
Roasted Pulled Chicken, Provolone, and Basil Oil Pizza Recipe

Review by Linda Kissam & Adrianne Morrison

The idea of almond pesto never occurred to us. Nor did the notion that a really good pizza, like the ones out of professional pizza ovens, could be made at home.

Meet Chef Todd English who every confidence you and I can create delicious pizza pies at home from scratch.  He promises we can make “handmade artisan pies from your own kitchen” with his new cookbook new cookbook, TODD ENGLISH’S RUSTIC PIZZA: HANDMADE ARTISAN PIES FROM YOUR OWN KITCHEN where he guides us to make “The Dough,” sauces, and creative toppings—yes, even almost pesto.

Prosciutto & Arugula

This cookbook unfolds like an around-the-world pizza tasting adventure with a 4x James Beard Award winning chef as your personal tour-guide and mentor.  After your tour, you will be inspired to try out these pizzas. They are fresh, healthy and delicious—your family and guests will definitely forget about delivery, and never, ever again consider frozen unless it’s the pizzas you’ve made to serve later.

This is also a great choice for holiday gift giving. Include a package of yeast, a baking stone and/or a big grin and promise to be on-hand for tasting. Great pizza without a pizza oven investment is a win-win for everyone—you with the apron on, and those in the aroma vicinity of your range. You’ll never regret being able to confidently whip out a pizza like a top chef “from your own kitchen” and now you know how to do make the pies just like Chef Todd.


I admit I’m leery of making dough. I don’t have the requisite stand mixer with hook attachment. I’ve been eyeing them on-line and in the store—pretty sure one is rising to the top of my Christmas wish-list. However, I do have everything else on the chef’s “Equipment, Tips and Tricks” pages so, in order to try his recipes, I’m going to pick-up fresh dough from the local Italian deli.

What’s first on my “to make” list? You guessed it, a “Chicken, Almond Pesto and Arugula Pizza.” I used a rotisserie chicken to make prep extra easy, and yes, it was delicious. Next up, the “Deconstructed Carbonara Flatbread” caught my eye since “deconstruction” seems to be the buzz word of 2017.  Then, after Christmas, I’m headed to the “advanced” section to make “Grandma Pie.” The recipe itself looks easy; I think the skill part comes in when making the “Sicilian-Style Pizza Dough” which I will attempt thanks to Santa (hint hint, see above).


As the name suggests, this is one cookbook that doesn’t mislead the reader.  It’s about pizza.  Handmade artisan pies you make in your own kitchen.  This cookbook is best seen as a buffet of sorts: Pick your favorites, dive in and come back for more. The White Clam pizza is briny heaven, featuring littleneck clams, fresh oregano, garlic and Parmesan cheese (page 182).  The Spicy Spinach and Feta Pizza sets the taste buds on fire, yet also balances out with feta cheese (page 74).

Chiken Tikka Masala Naan

Todd English long ago found the secret to the right taste by using the right ingredients. So it’s no mystery why this cookbook includes more than 100 individual pizza recipes creating some jaw-dropping dishes. From his lips to your ears, “While there are many traditional red-sauce pizzas in this book, you’ll find many other- and perhaps surprising- recipes that will have you thinking outside the (pizza delivery) box.” 


Take a test drive of this cookbook with the following recipe.

Roasted Pulled Chicken, Provolone, and Basil Oil Pizza

Roast chicken is a meal that keeps on giving, and one of its main gifts is leftovers. There are hundreds of uses for leftover chicken, and you may not have considered that pizza is one of them. The ingredient list calls for a half pound of cooked chicken, but you can add more or less depending on what you’ve got on hand. You could experiment with different cheeses as well. Be sure to keep a good lip on the crust so that the basil oil doesn’t spill off and burn on the baking stone.

2 pizza rounds of your choice

All-purpose flour for sprinkling

½ teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons Basil Oil (see page 28), plus additional for garnish

6 ounces Provolone cheese, shredded

½ pound cooked boneless, skinless chicken (any combination of light and dark meat), pulled into bite-size pieces

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. One hour before baking, place a baking stone in the oven and preheat it to 500°F (450°F for gluten-free crusts).
  2. Roll out 1 pizza round as thinly as possible and place it on a pizza peel sprinkled with flour. Leaving an outer lip all around the edge of the dough, cover the surface with half the garlic: season with salt and pepper.
  3. Evenly spread half the basil oil on the dough. Top with half each of the Provolone and chicken pieces.
  4. Shake the peel lightly and slide the pizza onto the hot baking stone. Bake until browned, 6 to 7 minutes (10 to 14 minutes for gluten-free crusts).
  5. Transfer the pizza to a firm surface and cut it into slices. Serve immediately, drizzled with half the basil oil.
  6. Repeat all the steps using the second dough round

From p. 28

Basil Oil

This basil-infused oil comes together in just a few minutes. Use it as a finishing oil, or add a tablespoon or two to one of the tomato sauces for instant fresh basil flavor.


1 small clove garlic, minced

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a food processor, pulse together the garlic and basil until the ingredients are chopped. Add the oil, salt, and pepper and process until the mixture is smooth.

Copyright © 2017 by Todd English and Heather Rodino and reprinted by permission of Castle Point Books. Pizza photos and book cover photo courtesy of Castle Point Books.

From p. 23

Traditional Basil Pesto

A basic pesto recipe is a must for every cook. It’s delicious, simple to make, and superior to any store-bought version. If you’ve only ever had tomato sauce on pizza, using pesto should be your next step: it will open up a whole world of options for creating delicious varieties of pizzas. Leftover pesto can be tossed with pasta, used as a sandwich spread, or simply frozen in small portions until the next time you make pizza.


¼ cup pine nuts

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or a combination of Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheeses) Kosher salt

  1. In a food processor, pulse together the pine nuts and garlic until they are well chopped. Add the basil and pulse until it is chopped. While the machine is running, gradually add the oil and process until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and stir in the Parmesan. Season with salt. Use immediately, or freeze.

About the Authors 

Todd English is a James Beard Award-winning chef and television personality with restaurants all over the world. He is a frequent guest on Top Chef, Iron Chef, The Today Show, Martha Stewart Living, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Live with Regis and Kelly, Extra, The Meredith Viera Show, and other major national television shows. He lives in New York City. His cookbooks include The Air Fryer Cookbook and Todd English’s Rustic Pizza.

Heather Rodino  is an editor, writer and food lover. The author of several books, she worked for many years in the publishing industry in New York. She now lives a few blocks from the beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with bookcases overflowing with cookbooks.



By: Todd English & Heather Rodino

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Pages: 224

ISBN: 9781250147677


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Note: As is common in the cookbook review industry, Adrianne and Linda were each provided with a copy of the cookbook for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, these two writers are happy to provide full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

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