Great for Guests: Make-Your-Own Pizza Party

29 Mar

Entertaining a crowd?  I love to cook, but I also love to talk and drink wine (and I don’t love spending a boatload of money on fancy ingredients).  When the mood strikes me to have guests over, or if I’m having an out-of-towner stay with me (which happens all the time when you live in sunny Southern California), I like to trot out the idea of the Make-Your-Own Pizza Party.  Because everything sounds more fun when you tack the word “Party” on the end of it.  And add wine (did I mention I love to drink wine?).

Luckily, T has both a classic dough recipe and a classic topping recipe in her book.  Let’s turn to page 200, shall we?

BASIC PIZZA DOUGH (enough for 16-inch pizza)
2 1/2C flour
1t salt
1 1/2t dry active yeast
3/4C plus 2T warm water
2T olive oil
Cornmeal

Mix flour and salt on work surface.  Make a well in the center.  Sprinkle yeast into the well.  Add two tablespoons warm water, mixing with fingertips until yeast is dissolved.  Pour in remaining water with olive oil.  Starting from inside of circle, gradually brush flour into liquid with fingers.  Gather into a ball and knead until smooth and elastic for about 7 to 10 minutes.  If dough is sticky, knead in additional flour.  Form dough into a circle and place on a lightly-greased cookie sheet.  Cover with waxed paper and towel and set in warm place to rise until doubled in volume.  Place dough on pizza pan that has been sprinkled with cornmeal and stretch with hands until dough is 1/4-inch thick.  Top with your favorite topping and bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

TOMATO-MUSHROOM TOPPING
2T olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2lb fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 16oz. can whole tomatoes
1t sugar
Salt and pepper
1/4lb mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4C grated Parmesan cheese

Saute onion, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil.  Drain tomatoes and squeeze dry.  Add to onion, garlic and mushroom mixture with sugar; add salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer together for about 5 minutes.  Cover pizza dough with tomato topping, sprinkle with cheeses.  Bake as directed.

Because this party was “Make-Your-Own,” we did!  I added pepperoni and ricotta, and my house guest went nuts– caramelized onions, fresh tomatoes, basil– you name it.  It was fun and delicious and the perfect way to cap off a super-joyful, super-busy weekend.  No stress, minor mess.  Mangia!

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2 Responses to “Great for Guests: Make-Your-Own Pizza Party”

  1. Rose April 1, 2012 at 2:16 PM #

    Those look delicious! Great Job!

  2. Lisa April 7, 2012 at 4:47 PM #

    I love pizza! Just had a crowd for dinner last night and served pizza (home-made). Got lots of compliments for an easy meal.

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