Do you ever have those days when you just want to stay in, order pizza, drink some beer, and watch a good movie? I was contemplating canceling my plans and doing just that this past weekend. Alas, I didn’t find the courage to cancel my previous arrangements so I had to push back pizza night. That didn’t mean that I still didn’t have pizza on my mind the next day (yes, I admit, pizza, not beer, movies or staying in, was the high point). Now I could order pizza or be productive and make my own, which will probably taste better. To draw some inspiration, I looked at menus and found California Pizza Kitchen’s habanero carnitas pizza. This pizza combined slow roasted pulled pork with cilantro pesto, red onion, mozzarella, Queso quesadilla cheese, and spicy habanero salsa. Drawing on this idea, I created my version of this delicious pulled pork pizza.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Many, many years ago, when I was scrounging around for cash, I worked as a hostess at CPK. I was a high school student who no longer received an allowance but loved to go out and spend time with friends. That meant earning my own money. During my first week of training, I was able to try some of the restaurant’s best dishes. I remember feasting on the salads and pizzas and feeling a strong wave of food coma right before a shift. CPK is, by no means, one of my favorite eateries, but there are some dishes that I still crave. Since then, they have added new dishes that I become curious about but never find the urge to actually visit the restaurant. This pulled pork pizza was one of them.
I only had the image of the pizza and description to go on recreating this dish, but I decided to make some changes to the original.
For the pork, I prefer using pork shoulder for braised pork dishes. A simple blend of aromatics, 2 hours later and you have tender, fall apart pork.
If you’re preparing the pork ahead of time, keep the meat in the liquid to prevent it from drying out.
Meanwhile, prepare your onions, salsa and cilantro pesto. For the salsa, you can increase or decrease the number of jalapenos depending on how spicy you want the salsa. If you’re feeling really brave, use a habanero instead of the fresh jalapeno.
When roasting the jalapeno, you can either do so on directly on the stove top or in the oven. If roasting in the oven, roast at 400 degrees F for 7-10 minutes or until the jalapeno has blackened.
Time to make the pizza! I cheated this time and bought a prepared crust, but feel free to make your own dough.
This pizza would be great prepared on the grill or in the oven. Just make sure not to overcook the pizza or the pork will dry out. Pair with the salsa and serve.
I was very pleased with this pizza. All of the components meshed well together from the herb pesto to the tender pork to the sweet onions to the mixture of cheeses. The salsa provided heat while adding a fresh element to the pizza. I actually even preferred this the next day as cold pizza, but then again, I’m a huge fan of cold pizza. Well CPK, I have to hand it to you…great idea for a pizza!
Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.