Movie night has always been something to look forward to for me. When I was growing up, Friday nights meant homemade calzones, popcorn made in the air-popper and smothered with melted butter, and a Disney movie with my parents and brothers. Later, movie night transitioned into seeing the latest chick flick with my girlfriends and eating too many sour gummies while giggling incessantly. Then, when unchaperoned dates were finally allowed, it became all about sharing popcorn and secretly holding hands in a dark theater while paying zero attention to the movie itself. And now I’ve come full circle, where little sounds more appealing on a Friday night then streaming a great movie, making a gourmet pizza at home, and opening a nice bottle of red wine.
For our most recent movie night, I made glammed-up versions of two movie-watching standards - pizza and popcorn. The Chicken-Broccoli Alfredo Pizza is a favorite childhood combination, comforting and creamy and mild. The homemade alfredo sauce utilizes a roux as a base, allowing you to use milk instead of cream and still achieve a thick and creamy texture. The chicken is simply shredded rotisserie chicken (easy is king on Friday nights!), and the broccoli is roasted before going on top of the pizza for additional flavor and crispiness.
As for the popcorn, I added maple syrup, chili powder, and salt to melted butter before drizzling the whole glorious sweet-salty-spicy lot over a batch of plain popped popcorn. If you start with plain popcorn, prepared in the microwave or using the traditional stove-top method, it’s easy to come up with great ways to customize the flavor at home. Truffle oil and parmesan makes an elegant combination, as does simply adding fresh rosemary or thyme to the melted butter. This particular Chili-Maple combination hits all the notes I crave in snack food, making it almost impossible to stop eating it.
And of course, one of the perks of adulthood (besides unchaperoned dates) is getting to open a nice bottle of wine to complete your movie night experience. With this pizza we chose to enjoy a bottle of Cambria's Benchbreak Pinot Noir - it turns out pinot, popcorn, and pizza are all you need for a great Friday night!
Movie Night: Homemade Pizza and Popcorn
Homemade Chicken-Broccoli Alfredo Pizza | Serves 6-8
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 2 medium heads of broccoli
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 4 TBS butter
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed or finely minced
- 4 TBS flour
- 3 c. whole milk, heated until just steaming
- 1 c. freshly grated parmesan
- ¾ c. freshly grated pecorino cheese
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds of pizza dough, homemade or store bought, thawed if frozen
- 1 c. shredded rotisserie chicken or other cooked chicken pieces
- ¾ c. shredded mozzarella cheese
- Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 400°F. Wash the broccoli and cut the florets from the stems. Toss the broccoli florets with the olive oil, then spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then roast for 20 minutes, stirring once after 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
- To prepare the alfredo sauce, melt the butter over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. Add the pressed garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir into the butter until a thick paste has form. Cook the roux for 2 minutes, stirring the whole time, until the roux is golden brown and has a nutty flavor. Begin adding the warm milk to the roux half a cup at a time, stirring to fully incorporate the milk between additions. The sauce should be thick and creamy. Whisk if necessary to remove any lumps. Once you have added all the milk. Remove the sauce from the heat. Stir in the grated parmesan and pecorino one handful at a time, letting each addition melt into the sauce before adding another one. Season the sauce to taste with the ½ tsp black pepper and salt to taste. Set aside.
- Roll out the pizza dough into one large or two small circles. Remove the preheated pizza stone from the oven and carefully transfer the rolled out dough to the hot stone. Spread a generous amount of alfredo sauce on top of the dough, so that it is about ¼ inch thick (you will have extra alfredo sauce - refrigerate it and save for another use). Place the chicken and roasted broccoli on top of the alfredo sauce, evenly spaced over the surface of the pizza. Cover with the shredded mozzarella cheese. Transfer the pizza stone back into the oven and bake the pizza until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly, about 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Chili-Maple Popcorn | Serves 4
- 4 c. popped plain popcorn
- ½ stick salted butter
- 1 TBS maple syrup
- ½ tsp chili powder
- sea salt to taste
- Place the popped popcorn in a large bowl.
- Melt the butter in the microwave or on the stovetop.
- Stir in the maple syrup and chili powder.
- Drizzle the butter over the popcorn and toss to coat all the popcorn with the butter.
- Season to taste with sea salt. Serve immediately
By Katie Morris