Guests in town for the holidays? There are times when it’s just easier to stay at home and entertain – it’s more casual, you don’t have to stress about having a large party or poor service, or worry about how long the food is taking or splitting the bill, it can accommodate nap times, and it’s less expensive, but If you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner you probably don’t want to plan an elaborate meal this close to the big day.
So, the perfect solution is a pizza party! And not pizza from your local favorite pizzeria; homemade pizza, as close to brick oven that you can get without the brick oven! (If you’re lucky enough to have one of those fully-equipped backyard kitchens, send me a message on any of the buttons in the sidebar when you decide to run with this idea : ). Everyone loves pizza! Sure there can be disagreement on whether thin crust or deep dish is the best or whether it originated in Napoli or Chicago…. kids and adults will enjoy making and sharing pizzas made with their favorite toppings. It can be as traditional or artisanal as you prefer: I like to include seasonal toppings such as pears, figs, roasted squash, sage, and arugula during this time of year.
1. Buy fresh pizza dough. (I bought mine at Trader Joes.) Plan on one pizza for each person.
2. Set up a pizza-topping station. Food Network’s Aida Mollenkamp suggests covering the table with butcher paper for a rustic vibe and to make clean-up a snap.
3. Meat toppings: Consider Italian prosciutto and pancetta instead of, or along with, the traditional pepperoni and sausage.
Veggie toppings; mushrooms, onions, green peppers, artichokes and add some flair with seasonal items mentioned above.
Cheese toppings: goat cheese, blue cheese, traditional grated pizza cheeses such as mozzarella, romano, and/or parmesan.
Preheat oven to 450 〬. Adjust rack to center of oven. Place baking sheets in oven to heat. Work in batches, rolling out two pizzas at a time to form circles. Transfer to parchment paper, select toppings, drizzle with 2 T. olive oil, use parchment paper to slide pizza on to preheated baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes each. Cut into quarters, share, and enjoy!
My daughter was better at rolling out the dough than I was. Uhmm, could be me attempting to shape my dough in the air like I saw in a Food Network pizza competition, but mine ended up in the floor twice. With a dog that sheds A LOT and a cat, the 30-second rule doesn’t work in my house, so it was a good thing that I bought extra dough.
IT’S OK TO CHEAT: If you want to make things really simple buy pizza crusts, add toppings and bake until warmed through and cheese is bubbly (or softened, in the case of goat cheese or blue cheese).