California Pizza Kitchen, known within the food industry as CPK, is a casual dining restaurant chain that specializes in California-style pizza. The restaurant was started in 1985 by attorneys Rick Rosenfield and Larry Flax in Beverly Hills, California. The chain is widely known for its innovative and non traditional pizzas, such as the "Original BBQ Chicken Pizza", BLT, Thai Chicken, and Jamaican Jerk Chicken pizzas. They also serve various kinds of pasta, salads, soups, sandwiches and desserts. They have an extensive children's menu for children ages 10 and under which includes a variety of different pizzas, pastas, salad, and chicken.

The chain has over 230 locations in 32 US states and eleven other countries, including 26 California Pizza Kitchen ASAP kiosks designed to serve passengers at airports and shopping malls. The company licensed its name to Kraft Foods to distribute a line of premium frozen pizzas, in 2000.; Nestlé purchased Kraft's pizza lines in 2010.



Chicken Piccata

California Pizza Kitchen Recipe

Makes 4 dinner or 8 lunch servings

1 1/2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup light-tasting olive oil, divided
6 tablespoons minced shallots
1 to 2 tablespoons minced garlic
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
kosher salt
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper or to taste
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter
4 to 6 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley, plus extra sprigs for garnish
1 to 1 1/2 pounds spaghettini
1 large lemon, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Start the sauce. Place a heavy nonstick pan over medium heat; add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. When hot, add shallots and garlic, stirring to prevent scorching; cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in wine; simmer about 5 minutes. Stir in stock, lemon juice and 2 to 3 teaspoons salt to taste, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour sauce through a strainer and discard solids. Return liquid to the pot, set aside and keep warm.

Prepare chicken. Place chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap; pound to about 1/2 inch. In a shallow plate, stir together flour, seasoned salt, basil and white pepper. Dredge chicken in seasoned flour, shaking off excess. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat half of the remaining 1/3 cup oil. Add half the chicken and cook until golden brown on one side, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn and cook on the second side until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Remove to a platter and keep warm. Repeat with remaining oil and chicken.

Whisk the cream into the sauce. Stir into the skillet, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Stir in black pepper, butter, capers and chopped parsley; cook and stir over medium heat for a minute or two, just until heated through. Taste; add salt if necessary. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente.

Drain pasta and return to pot. Stir sauce and lemon slices into pasta; toss well to coat. To serve, arrange chicken on serving plates, mound pasta alongside, and drizzle any remaining sauce over chicken. Garnish with parsley sprigs and serve immediately.

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

California Pizza Kitchen Copycat Recipe

Serves 8

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 22 sheets, finely crushed with a rolling pin)
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tablespoon all purpose flour plus
2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup sour cream plus
2 tablespoon sour cream
3 large eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree

To make the crust: Put the graham cracker crumbs in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until they have a uniformly fine texture. Add the sugar and pulse to combine. With the machine running, pour the melted butter through the feed tube and continue processing just until the mixture forms a soft mass. Remove from the processor and firmly press the mixture into the base of a 9-inch spring form pan, spreading it evenly.

To make the filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment, beat the cream cheese until soft, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the brown sugar and continue beating until thoroughly incorporated and creamy.

In a separate small bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Add the flour mixture to the cream cheese mixture and beat until thoroughly combined, stopping occasionally to scrape down the bowl. In the same way, beat in the sour cream and then, one at a time, the eggs, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and pumpkin and beat until thoroughly combined.

Pour the filling into the prepared spring form pan and place on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 1 hour, test for doneness by gently moving the pan to see if the center of the cheesecake has firmed up - a sign of doneness - or is still slightly fluid (alternatively, check the cheesecake's internal temperature with an instant read thermometer, which should register 180 degrees). The cheesecake may require up to 20 minutes more baking time.

When it is done, let it cool to room temperature and then refrigerate it overnight before removing the side of the pan. Cut the cheesecake into wedges with a sharp knife.

New Flatbread Appetizers

California Pizza Kitchen has introduced a line of appetizer sized pizzas called California Flatbreads as permanent additions to its menu, priced at an average $5.95 each.

  • The Bianco is a white pizza topped with whipped truffle cream, Gorgonzola cheese, mozzarella cheese and fresh sage. 
  • The Shaved Mushroom + Spinach is topped with cremini mushrooms, sautĂ©ed spinach, California olive oil and Romano and Parmesan cheeses. 
  • The Spicy Fennel Sausage + Poblano is made with sausage, fresh mozzarella, fire-roasted chiles, Greek oregano and spicy marinara sauce.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

California Pizza Kitchen Copycat Recipe
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup diced white onions or 3/4 cup yellow onion
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 crumbled bouillon cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
12 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, wrung out by hand and coarsely chopped
6 ounces artichoke bottoms, drained and cut into slices
1 cup finely shredded Monterey jack cheese
3/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

In a large saucepan, warm the olive oil and butter over medium heat. When butter has melted, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 3-4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 2-3 minutes longer, stirring frequently and stopping before onion and garlic start to brown. Sprinkle the flour over and continue cooking, stirring continuously, until the mixture turns a golden blond color, about 10-15 minutes. Slowly add the stock, whisking continuously until it is smoothly incorporated. When the mixture begins to simmer, stir in the cream. Return to simmer.

Remove from heat and add the Parmesan, bouillon cubes, lemon juice and sugar and stir until thoroughly blended.  Add the sour cream, spinach, artichoke bottoms, Monterey Jack and Tabasco sauce. Stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined and the cheese is melted. Transfer to a warm serving bowl and serve immediately, accompanied by tortilla chips, pita chips or toasted baguette slices. 

Cobb Salad

California Pizza Kitchen Copycat Recipe

Serves 4 Main Dish or 8 Appetizers

Garden Herb Ranch Dressing (see recipe below)
Grilled Garlic Chicken (see recipe below)
1 pound medium fresh beets
3/4 head iceberg lettuce, cored, rinsed, dried and cut into 3/4 inch square pieces
3/4 head romaine lettuce, separated, trimmed, rinsed, dried and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
3/4 pound diced smoked bacon, cooked until golden and crispy
2 pounds ripe tomatoes cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 ripe avocados cut into 1/2 inch dice
3 cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Prepare garden herb ranch dressing and grilled garlic chicken. Set aside.

To prepare beets, bring about 6 quarts water to a boil. Carefully place beets in water and cook 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, add additional hot water if needed to cover beets. Cook an additional 45 minutes. Beets should be soft all the way through when done. Carefully transfer beets to a colander, and drain. Place beets in a bowl, and refrigerate 10 minutes or until beets are just warm to the touch. Slip skin from beets, and cut into 1/2 inch dice.

To assemble salad: In large mixing bowl, toss together the lettuces and dressing. Transfer equal parts to chilled serving bowls. Neatly layer rows of bacon, tomatoes, avocados, reserved chicken cubes and beets. Top with equal amounts of cheese.

Garden Herb Ranch Dressing
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cold water
2 3/4 cups mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
7 tablespoons sour cream
2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions (green and white parts)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh Italian parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon minced fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh oregano (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh basil

In mixing bowl, use a fork to stir together the mustard and cold water until ingredients form a paste. Set aside 10 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients to bowl and whisk just until smooth. Do not over-mix or you will incorporate too much air into the dressing. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Grilled Garlic Chicken
1 1/3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/3 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each)

In mixing bowl, stir together the olive oil, garlic, soy sauce and salt. Turn chicken breasts in this marinade and leave to marinate at room temperature about 15 minutes. Preheat broiler, stove top grill or outdoor grill. If using broiler, set rack in center of oven. Broil or grill chicken breasts until cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Remove from heat and cool slightly then cut into 1/4 inch cubes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Brussels and Bacon Pizza

The Brussels and  Bacon Pizza is topped with sweet caramelized onions, smoked bacon, Romano and creamy goat cheese with black pepper. It contains Brussels sprouts that have been hand-separated, tossed in olive oil and charred to give a crispy and sweet texture that complements the other ingredients.

1 package store bought crust
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Romano cheese
1 cup goat cheese
sliced onions
10 brussels sprouts, leave cut off
4 slices cooked bacon, broken into bite sized pieces

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
On a large baking sheet, roll out the prepared pizza dough. Slather on the olive oil, minced garlic and cheeses.  Toss the sliced onions and brussel sprouts in olive oil to caramelize.  Place the mixture on top of the cheese. Place the pizza into the oven for 10-12 minutes until the cheese begins to bubble and the crust is fully cooked. Remove from oven and season with salt and pepper and top with the bacon bits. Let cool for a hot second or two and serve.

Basic Pizza Dough

California Pizza Kitchen Basic Pizza Dough

Makes dough for two 9-inch pizzas.

1 teaspoon yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water (105 to 110 degrees)
1 1/2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon for coating

To Make The Dough: Dissolve the yeast in the water and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. Be sure that the water is hot. Temperatures of 120 degrees F and above will kill the yeast, and your dough will not rise.

If using an upright electric mixer, such as a KitchenAid, use the mixing paddle attachment because the batch size is too small for the dough hook to be effective. Combine all other ingredients (except the additional teaspoon of olive oil) and combine them with the dissolved yeast in the mixing bowl. (Do not pour the salt directly into the yeast water because this would kill some of the yeast.) Allow these ingredients to mix gradually, use the lowest 2 speeds to mix the dough. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Over-mixing the dough will produce tough, rubbery dough, and friction will cause the dough to rise too fast.

If using a food processor, using a dough "blade" made of plastic rather than the sharp steel knife attachment, which would cut the gluten strands and ruin the consistency of the dough. Otherwise proceed as above. Be especially cautious not to mix too long with a food processor because the temperature resulting from the friction of mixing could easily exceed 120 degrees F, killing the yeast. Mix only until a smooth dough ball is formed.

If mixing by hand, place the dry ingredients in a 4 to 6 quart mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the liquids (reserving the teaspoon of olive oil). Use a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients. Once initial mixing is done, you can lightly oil your hands and begin kneading the dough. Knead for 5 minutes. When done the dough should be slightly tacky (that is, it should be barely beyond sticking to your hands).

Lightly oil the dough ball and the interior of a 1-quart glass bowl. Place the dough ball in the bowl and seal the bowl with clear food wrap. Seal airtight. Set aside at room temperature (70 to 70 degrees ) to rise until double in bulk - about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

The dough could be used at this point, but it will not be that wonderful, chewy, flavorful dough that it will later become. Punch down the dough, re-form a nice round ball and return it to the same bowl. Cover again with clear food wrap. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight, covered airtight.

About 2 hours before you are ready to assemble your pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Use a sharp knife to divide the dough into 2 equal portions (or 4 equal portions if making appetizer-size pizza or if smaller 6-inch pizzas are desired.) Roll the smaller dough into round balls on a smooth, clean surface. Be sure to seal any holes by pinching or rolling. Place the newly-formed dough balls in a glass casserole dish, spaced far enough apart to allow for each to double in size. Seal the top of the dish airtight with clear food wrap. Set aside at room temperature until the dough balls have doubled in size (about 2 hours). They should be smooth and puffy.

To stretch and form the dough for pizza: Sprinkle a medium dusting of flour over a 12 x 12-inch clean, smooth surface. Use a metal spatula or dough spacer to carefully remove a dough ball from the glass casserole dish, being very careful to preserve its round shape. Flour the dough liberally. Place the floured dough on the floured smooth surface.

Use your hand or rolling pin to press the dough down forming a flat circle about 1/2-inch thick. Pinch the dough between your fingers all around the edge of the circle, forming a lip or rim that rises about 1/4-inch above the center surface of the dough. You may continue this outward stretching motion of the hands until you have reached a 9-inch diameter pizza dough.

To dress the pizza: Lightly sprinkle cornmeal, semolina or flour over the surface of a wooden pizza peel. Arrange the stretched dough over the floured peel surface. Work quickly to dress the pizza so that the dough will not become soggy or sticky from the sauces and toppings.

When you are ready to transfer the pizza to the pizza stone in the preheated oven, grasp the handle of the peel and execute a very small test jerk to verify that the pizza will come easily off the peel. If the dough does not move freely, carefully lift the edges of the dough and try to rotate it by hand. Extreme cases may require that you toss more flour under the dough edges.

Once the dough is moving easily on the peel, open the oven and position the edge of the peel over the center of the stone about 2/3 from the front of the stone. Jiggle and tilt the peel to get the pizza to start sliding off. When the pizza begins to touch the stone, pull the peel quickly out from under it. Don't attempt to move the pizza until it has begun to set (about 3 minutes). The peel can be slid under the pizza to move it or remove it.

Chicken Alfredo Pizza

California Pizza Kitchen Copycat Recipe

Makes 1 Pizza

1 lb pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
1 1/2 cups cooked or grilled, shredded chicken
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk
2 oz finely shredded Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup)
Salt and freshly ground black or white pepper, to taste
cornmeal, for dusting
4 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese (1 cup)
6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon chopped green onions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a pizza stone in center of oven to heat while preparing toppings for pizza (for at least 30 minutes).
Melt butter along with garlic powder and onion powder in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. While whisking vigorously, slowly pour in cream and milk. Bring mixture just to a gentle bubble stirring constantly. Allow mixture to gently boil for 20 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add in Parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper to taste then return to warm heat and stir occasionally until ready to use.

To assemble pizza:  On a floured work surface, flatten, stretch and shape pizza dough into a 13 to 14-inch round, while creating a thicker outer crust. Sprinkle a wooden pizza peel with flour and cornmeal and transfer shaped dough to pizza peel, reshaping dough as need. Remove pizza stone from oven, sprinkle lightly with cornmeal then carefully slide shaped pizza dough from pizza peel onto hot pizza stone. Pour half of the Alfredo sauce over dough round, then use the back of a spoon to spread into an even layer coming within about 1-inch of the edge. Sprinkle shredded chicken over sauce layer, then pour remaining sauce evenly over chicken. Sprinkle top evenly with Mozzarella cheese then sprinkle with chopped bacon. Brush outer crust with olive oil and season crust lightly with a pinch of garlic powder and salt. Bake in preheated oven 14 - 16 minutes until crust is nicely golden. Remove from oven, garnish top evenly with green onions, cut into slices and serve warm.