I love throwing make-your-own pizza parties at home. Not only because I am obsessed with anything Italian and could basically live on pizza for the rest of my life, but also because they are always fun, easy-to-organize evenings that really get everybody involved.
It’s also one of those dinner themes that allows you to choose how complicated you want the planning process to be; you can either choose to buy everything already made and get everyone to make their own pizza on the night, or you can go the full hog and impress your guests with gourmet pizzas that you’ve lovingly made from scratch. Either way, you’re guaranteed success because everyone loves pizza!
Here are a few tips on how to organize your own pizza party:
Step 1: The Perfect Base
A lot of people are daunted by the prospect of making their own pizza dough but to be honest it’s actually quite easy once you get the hang of it and there’s nothing like the taste of home-made bread. This is one of my favorite recipes but if you’re still feeling a bit nervous then I suggest going for this foolproof option which doesn’t require any kneading at all. You can even make the dough the night before your party and store it in the fridge until you are ready.
If you’re pressed for time, then pre-cooked bases are a fine choice too. Some bakeries or pizza places will even sell you loaves of dough for your party. Otherwise you could even use Pita/Turkish bread as your base.
Step 2: The Sauce
Again you could save yourself time and just buy a jar of sauce. I really like the Italian pizza sauces which are slightly spicy but you could also get different types of sauces for a bit of variety (i.e. pesto, houmus, crème fraiche).
This recipe for home-made sauce is easy to make. More often than not I generally just whip up my own by simply simmering whole peeled tomatoes with a chopped shallot (or garlic), salt and pepper and mixed herbs.
Step 3: Delicious Toppings
It’s a good idea to ask your guests to bring along their favorite toppings so that you have a wide array of choices when it’s time to make your pizzas. Just make sure that you’ve covered the basics covered such as the sauce, cheese and a few veggies.
Here are some popular topping options:
Shredded Mozarella, blue cheese, parmesan, feta
Pepperoni, ham, cooked bacon pieces, shredded cooked chicken
Peppers, red onion, fresh or sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, basil
Shrimps, smoked salmon
♥ Dessert options
Nutella, banana, nuts, strawberries, jam
Step 4: Setting The Scene
Nobody expects a pizza party to be lavishly decorated so it’s perfectly acceptable to limit your decorations to pretty candles, fairy lights or whatever you normally have hanging around for your get-togethers. If you wanted to add a little bit of Italian flair to the occasion then you could always cover your tables with chequered table cloths, offer some Italian wine and play some Solo Mio (gondola optional).
Set up a station with all of the toppings chopped up and ready to go, leaving your guests to use their imagination and create their own pizza masterpieces. I have been known in the past to print out a whole lot of pizza recipes to ‘inspire’ my guests but that’s pretty geeky and as my Honey kindly pointed out ‘a little bit over the top Darling’.
Step 5: Cooking The Pizzas
I always put a pizza in the oven just before my guests are due to arrive so that they already something to nibble on whilst they get into the swing of things. I also like to have the pizza bases already rolled out and laid onto cooking paper so that all the guests have to do is grab a base and top it off. It cuts down on time and avoids a lot of mess that way. But hey, if you don’t mind a little mess then letting everyone roll out their own pizza can be a lot of fun too!
There a lots of options on how to cook your pizzas from grilling to frying (yeah cause’ pizzas are a little too light on calories you know!) through to using a stone in your oven or a wood fire oven. In the summer months, it’s probably a good idea to go for the grilling method as cooking pizzas in your oven for two hours will turn your house into a Swedish sauna.
Pizzas cook at a high temperature (250 c) and are generally done within 10 mins. A medium 20cm wide pizza should feed two people but I always make a couple of extra pizzas just in case people feel like a second helping later – which of course, they always do.
Finally, remember to relax and have fun. This is one of those parties where all you should have to do is put on some funky music, top up your glass and look forward to the left overs!