How to: Throw a pizza party
There's a reason why pizzas look so binge-worthy at restaurants and not as styled at home. The crust is golden brown, the cheese is melted to perfection, the ingredients are imaginative and the pairings are as perfect as a Hollywood "it" couple. Try turning your home kitchen into a pizza joint and the pizza looks far from appealing.
The secret to great looking and tasting pizza is not ingredients, it's all about the art and technique of pizza making. "You can make great pizza at home," says Maxine Clarke, the authour of Pizza, Calzone & Focaccia (Ryland, Peters & Small). "You just have to know what you are doing."
What she means is that the success to a great pizza has to do with the dough, the sauce, the ingredients and the baking. Once you've mastered those four things, you'll be just as good, if not better, than your favourite hangout. And don't forget about going for a pizza menu at your next party. Making pizzas are a fun way for people to help out and they can tailor make their own individual pizzas.
Want some pointers to throwing a great party? Serve pizza!
Here are Maxine's tips.
Do make the dough beforehand and freeze it in individual round portions. Defrost an hour or so before the fun begins.
Don't buy the pre-made crusts, they just don't taste as delicious as home made dough.
Do encourage your guests to stretch and roll out their own dough.
Don't serve the pre-stretched, storebought dough, it tends to be more chewy and not as pizza parlour-tasting.
Do offer up interesting pizza toppers to create unusual pizzas.
Don't give too many choices as this slows down people's creativity and clogs up your kitchen.
Do offer Italian wine and Italian beer to round out the dinner.
Don't make a heavy dessert for the finale. A light refreshing sorbet will do just fine.
Do interact with your guests. If you stay at the oven all night, it's no fun for anyone.
Don't worry if there is a thin veil of white dust over everything the next day. It's just part of the fun.
Inspiration for pizza toppings
Move over pepperoni and mushroom, when it comes to topping a classic Italian pie, a little imagination and inspiration is required. Maxine Clarke says that the ingredients should be able to stand the intense heat of the oven, stay moist or crisp and complement the basic bland taste of the base.
Here are her pizza party favourites and they mix and match perfectly.
Super simple, but unbelievably flavourful, this classic is made from Buffalo mozzrella, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. With so few ingredients, go local. The flavours will be that much more intense.
Carmelized Red Onion Pizza with Capers and Olives
There's no tomato sauce to splatter on your clothes, but this succulent pizza is always a hit. Onions are cooked until soft and caramelized and spread on top of mozzarella. The olives and capers make the sweet onions more savoury. It's a combo to die for.
Pear, Pecorino and Taleggio Pizza
This is a new twist on pizza, but the flavour combinations work magically together. Almost like a dessert course, the pears and cheese melt beautifully together. For a heartier meal feel free to add some Italian sausage scattered throughout.
Sicilian Shrimp and Tomato Pizza
Topped with mounds of whole roasted cherry tomatoes, shrimp, garlic, red pepper flakes and fresh parsley, this pizza will add a kick to your party. Make sure to offer plates as it's a little sloppy but well worth it.