By Lorie Fangio, TSB Contributor
I remember standing with my nose pressed against the glass watching the pizzaiolos toss (pizza) dough above their heads. With discs of yumminess spinning high in the air, I wondered if they would catch it and of course they did every time.
Ice cold root beer in frosty mugs, the booming player piano belting out a boisterous tune, I can’t remember if the pizza was good but it doesn’t matter. Friday nights spent at the pizza parlor are some of my fondest memories of childhood. It is amazing how such simple experiences can produce lasting impressions when the main ingredient is fun.
Stir things up at your house by planning a build your own pizza party. It’s easy and tons of fun. Start with my recipe for Pizza Crust; this dough bakes into a chewy crust with amazing flavor because it rises for a second time overnight in the fridge. The crusts are partially cooked ahead of time to make handling and building pizzas a snap. My yummy Pizza Sauce is a breeze to make but if you are short on time just pick up pizza dough and sauce at the grocery store.
To set up the party, collect a variety of pizza fixings along with plenty of mozzarella and parmesan cheese and set them out in bowls for easy access. Spread an even layer of sauce on the crust and then get creative and adventurous with your toppings. Bake the pizzas in a 450 degree oven until cheese is bubbly and crusts have crisped up. Serve Pizzas with a simple salad and dinner is done!
There is something magical that happens when you get your family in the kitchen, and a pizza party is just the ticket to a fun any night of the week.
2 1/8 cup bread flour plus more for dusting
3/4 cup water
¼ warm water
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 envelops dry yeast not rapid rise
1/3 cup cornmeal
Dissolve yeast in ¼ cup warm water. In a medium bowl combine dissolved yeast, salt, sugar, water and mix well. Add flour and stir with a spoon, until all flour is incorporated. If dough is too sticky to handle, add more flour. Form a ball with the dough, do not over mix, place in greased bowl and let it rise until doubled in size. Punch down dough, cover it with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to rise a second time, overnight. Divide dough into 6 equal parts for personal pizzas. Dust surface with flour and roll or stretch dough into rustic rounds. Sprinkle surface with cornmeal. Press each crust into the corn meal. Brush the surface of a grill or griddle pan with olive oil and turn the heat to medium. Partially cook each crust, cornmeal side down for about 4 minutes until the surface of the crust is no longer sticky. Set aside until ready to make pizzas. Once pizzas have been topped as desired, bake them in a 450 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.
1 24-ounce can traditional pasta sauce
1 clove garlic pressed
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt to taste
Mix all ingredients in medium chefs pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes until sauce thickens and reduces slightly.