Contributed by Kathy Hester
Even though pizza originated in Italy, the Americans have their own way of doing it. In fact, within the United States there are differences as well. New York pizza is thin and you fold the slice in half lengthwise to eat it. It is not a thin as a thin crust which is closer to eating a crunchy cracker. Chicago style pizza has 2 layers and is baked in a deep dish pan.
No matter what style of pizza you prefer, try inviting over your friends and let everyone make their own pizza. You can make your dough from scratch or use flat bread or naan as a base. If you make your own, pre-bake the crusts ahead of time so they are easier to put toppings on. Have a few choices of sauces. Try a simple pureed tomato sauce with garlic and oregano, a rocket and pistachio pesto, or a simple olive oil garlic. You can even make a peanut sauce as a base for a Thai pizza.
Make space on a table where guests can put together their pizza. I like to put out the toppings on contrasting color square dinnerware to decorate the table. Put out bell pepper, onion slices, tomatoes, fresh basil, sliced mushrooms, tofu cubes, olives, and anything else you want to try. Have crumbled sausage, shredded chicken, or any other shredded meat you have on hand. It’s traditional to put shredded mozzarella on top, but try goat cheese, blue cheese, or even crumbled paneer. Try adding some lemon zest or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to brighten it up.
Since they are individual pizzas, you can bake a few of them at a time as your guest prepares it. Once the cheese is melted and the crust is crispy take them out of the oven. I love topping the pizza with some rocket salad tossed in a little olive oil and lemon juice. There’s something magical about the chilled salad on top of the warm pizza.
Pizza parties are easy to set up and you can make new combinations each time so no one will grow tired of it. Maybe this should be your party of the season.