DIY Pizza Party

April 14, 2015

Having people over to share food might be one of my all time favourite things. That being said, my perfectionism and tendency to overthink myself out of doing stuff has lead my sum total of hosted events since arriving in America to stand at two. Over the past two years. And those two we're in the last month.

Worrying about putting on a fabulous menu that would distract people from my lack of ceiling or walls that are not made of paper, almost led me to once again shy away from hosting- but then I thought, 'if these people are my friends they won't care what the kitchen looks like'... I also bought A LOT of booze.

With the guest list growing rapidly once I realised I am in fact a grown woman with my own home that I can fill with drunk people, it was essential to plan the menu to be simple.

Ultimately, what's more simple than a pizza party? A pizza party where the guests make their own food, that's what.

Here's what you'll need to host your pizza party:

  • Pizza dough- use this Garlic Breadscotti recipe for the basic dough but triple it to make 6 pizza bases
  • Tomato sauce- Here's a quick sauce recipe
  • Cheese- I like a stringy mozzarella so always have a standard grated mozz on hand, but you can also add some fresh buffalo mozzarella, blue cheese, parmesan...
  • Toppings galore! I had a bunch of platters of vegetables and meats but you can go with what you fancy, here are my favourites

  • red +white onion
  • mushrooms- sliced
  • spinach
  • fresh garlic- pop the cloves out with a microplane grater so people can load up depending on their preference
  • zucchini
  • artichoke hearts
  • fresh tomatoes (FIY beer and chopping tomatoes with a REALLY sharp knife don't mix.. as I found out)
  • peppers- bell, sweet, hot...

  • cured meats- pepperoni, salami, prosciutto...
  • ham
  • shredded chicken
  • cooked sausage
  • cooked bacon
  • chorizo/chourico
  • anchovies

  • chili flakes
  • hot sauce
  • bbq sauce- this can be used as a base sauce as well
  • salt and pepper

Other ideas:
  • pears- top the pizza with stilton/blue cheese
  • apples- use a dulce leche or toffee sauce as a base for a dessert pizza
  • crack an egg into the center of your pizza just before baking, it'll be cooked with a runny yolk by the time the dough is ready!
  • Fold your pizza over to make a calzone, seal the edges with a little water on the dough to make it sticky, then crimp the edges with your fingers so it doesn't explode all over the oven
  • Use a cheesy white sauce as a base sauce- use the one from the leek dish here
Much as I like some inventive and unique pizza combinations, sometimes keeping it simple is a winner. Some of my favourite pizza's are a combination of only two or three ingredients.

To set up your DIY pizza party:

  • Prepare the pizza dough and roll out into bases onto pizza trays or large baking pans. You can also make mini bases for a kiddo party so they all get to try out their own ideas and flavour combinations.
  • Slice all the vegetables, lay out the meats and grate the cheese. If this is a grown up party, the last thing you want is drunk people wielding knives (see above comment about beer and tomatoes).
  • Have your cooled tomato sauce in a pot with a couple of spoons for ladling and spreading. and make sure if something is not sprinkle-able by hand there are spoons ready. 
  • Pre-heat the oven so the make up pizza's can go right in to bake- large ones will usually take about 25-30 mins, less time for small ones, just keep and eye on them for browning cheese and sneak a look at the bottoms of any you think are about done to check the dough is baked all the way to the center.
  • If your oven won't fit all the pizza's in in one go (who's would?!) try and stagger the pizza making. I distracted guests with beer.

Charlie isn't a fan of restaurants that involve making your own food, he's of the opinion that the chef and servers are all in the kitchen laughing at us mugs paying to make our own dinner.

I was all prepared for this to be the reaction of our friends when they arrived to find out they would be the ones cooking tonight (you turn up to someone house who's blog is called 'Holly Likes to Cook', you expect to be cooked for). But that was not the case- people went cray for those DIY pizzas.

All in all it was a roaring success that ended up in us getting very merry, and drunk booking tickets to  a gig in Portland, ME for which we would have to leave for the following day at 10am.

What I drunk book shall now be the metric by which I judge all dinner parties.

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