Saturday night we invited some friends over for a pizza party. Not unlike the ravioli party, we provided the dough, cheese, and sauce, and asked everyone to bring a topping…
…And everyone brought something different. We had pepperoni, pancetta, fancy mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, zucchini, sun-dried tomato pesto, chili peppers, fancy cheeses, artichoke hearts, spinach, caramelized onions, and pears. Stephanie even had some anchovies on hand.
Though we had the capacity to produce 15 pizzas, it turns out it only took 4 to feed the ten of us. So we didn’t manage to incorporate every possible topping (sorry, no anchovies), but we tried. Here was the menu for the night:
- Fancy mushrooms and pancetta with fresh tomatoes and garlic
- Caramelized onions with pears and blue cheese
- Garlicky spinach with artichoke hearts
I was thinking pizzas would be easier than assembling raviolis (and they are), but after doing some research I realized that proper use of a pizza stone required preheating it for an hour at 500°F—which, thanks to our lovely gas oven, meant the kitchen felt like a furnace all night. Didn’t stop folks from braving the heat to lend a hand.
I made a day-of decision to make my own pizza dough (rather than using the pre-made bags from Trader Joe’s). This was a risky proposition, as it was something I’d never done before (involving yeast), but I was happy I did. There’s just something transcendent about biting into homemade bread. It didn’t just feel like we were eating Pizza, it felt like we were eating something we made, soup to nuts. Which feels pretty good.
Here’s the recipe I used, which makes enough dough for two New York-style 14″ pizza crusts.
- Dissolve 1 tsp sugar with 2/3 cup of 110°F water
- Stir in 1 packet of yeast, let sit for 5-10 minutes
- In a large bowl combine 3 1/2 cups of bread flour with 1 1/2 tsp of salt
- Combine the activated yeast with an additional 2/3 cup of water with the flour
- Knead for 5 minutes
- Put in a bowl, cover (with cloth or saran wrap), let rise a warm place for 45 minutes
So we cooked, we ate, we drank, we talked, we drank, we laughed, we drank! Oh yeah, there was wine too. And Dawn brought homemade lemon scones! It was a time. Here are some pictures: