Not your 5th grade pizza party

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:

  1. Pepperoni
  2. Fancy mushrooms and pancetta with fresh tomatoes and garlic
  3. Caramelized onions with pears and blue cheese
  4. 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.

  1. Dissolve 1 tsp sugar with 2/3 cup of 110°F water
  2. Stir in 1 packet of yeast, let sit for 5-10 minutes
  3. In a large bowl combine 3 1/2 cups of bread flour with 1 1/2 tsp of salt
  4. Combine the activated yeast with an additional 2/3 cup of water with the flour
  5. Knead for 5 minutes
  6. 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:

Justin and Conrad play-fighting in the kitchen
Me defending a 6 pound block of mozzarella from Conrad
justin making pizza, Conrad eating cheese, Dawn grating
Making the first pizza on my brand new peel
Justin shows off the first pizza: pepperoni
Showing off the first pizza: classic pepperoni
Tony running slices of pizza out to guests
Tony running slices, literally
Conrad, Dawn, and Tony slaving away in the kitchen
Conrad, Dawn, and Tony slaving away in the kitchen
A caramelized onion, blue cheese, and pear pizza
Closeup of a caramelized onion, blue cheese, and pear pizza (inspired by Trader Joe’s)
Nate and Sarah
Nate and Sarah smartly avoiding the infernal kitchen
A blob of excess pizza dough started to take over the kitchen
While no one was watching, the excess pizza dough started to assimilate the refrigerator

8 Comments

aj

wow your pizza’s look great for home cooked. What is your recipe for the dough? And did you use a stone?

aj

sorry just read the text and there is your recipe, I was too busy salivating over the photo of the finished pizza. Note to self: Next time read before commenting!

best pizza party ever. thanks again for having us!

The pizza was great! I didn’t do any work, though. I owe you some labor at the next food-assembly eating party.

Idea for the next one: Meat Grinder Party, you bring the meat, I’ll grind it.

Bri/Dad

What a blast. It looks like you had a great time. And since the kitchen was so hot the dough could rise just sitting out. Awesome!

this took way too many days for me todo… sheesh!
Presenting: Big Kid Pizza Party

Nate, what a great title! Exactly what I was going for. You’re right, libations were key.

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