Everybody loves pizza, so why not have a pizza party the next time you entertain? It's fun and interactive, and friends and family can join in and create their own amazing flavour combinations.
Host an interactive pizza party next time you entertain.
Set the scene
Set a weathered old wooden table and place the pizzas in the middle on baking paper or baking trays so that everyone can help themselves. Use unmatched wooden plates and vintage cutlery and keep the colour scheme simple. We used red as our main colour and brought in touches of turquoise and green. Complete the picture with exotic tomatoes in different colours, bread sticks and fresh herbs in the place of flowers.
Flavoured olive oil
Treat your guests with these little gifts. Fill small bottles with olive oil and flavour the oil with herbs, garlic and chillies. Seal the bottle and shake it well. Make name tags and attach one to the neck of each bottle with a piece of string.
Type the words ‘Buon appetito!’ on your computer and print them out on A4 sheets of white paper (use the picture on page 58 as a guide). Clip the paper onto a clipboard to use as a placemat.
TRY OUR FLAVOUR COMBINATIONS Roasted vegetables, blue cheese and pesto
Top rolled-out pizza dough with prepared tomato sauce (recipes for dough and sauce on page 66). Top with roasted courgettes, red and yellow peppers and roasted or caramelised onion slices. Add a little blue cheese (or use feta, if you prefer). Top with slices of mozzarella. Bake. Once the pizza is cooked, drizzle with basil or rocket pesto and add a little shaved Parmesan.
Tomato, chorizo and fresh basil
Use a small punnet of cherry tomatoes with different colours. Cut into halves or thick slices. Spread on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Add two cloves chopped garlic and the leaves of a sprig of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped. Cook under a hot grill until the tomatoes begin to char. Remove from the oven and set aside. Spread the rolled-out pizza dough with a little prepared tomato sauce (recipes on page 66). Top with grated mozzarella. Add slices of chorizo and the grilled tomatoes, top with a little more cheese and bake. Once the pizza is cooked, top with freshly torn basil leaves.
These ingredients work well as pizza toppings:
• Bacon, ham, salami, sausage meat, smoked chicken, mince bolognaise, anchovies, biltong, pulled pork, strips of grilled steak, prawns, smoked salmon (add after cooking).
• Caramelised onions, roasted or grilled vegetables (such as sweet peppers, courgettes, brinjals, asparagus, butternut), cooked spinach, cooked broccoli, canned artichokes, canned asparagus.
• Raw chopped green, red or yellow peppers, sliced onions, cubed pineapple, sliced mushrooms.
• Pitted olives, piquanté peppers, jalapeño chillies, pesto sauce, sweet chilli sauce.
Pizza party tips
• You will need to prepare the dough, tomato sauce (recipes on page 66) and a few different toppings in advance. Put the toppings into small bowls and fill a big bowl with grated mozzarella. You can also have other cheeses like blue cheese, ricotta, feta, Cheddar and Parmesan on offer. Once these are ready, set them all out on a work surface and allow the guests to help themselves. You can also have fresh herbs like basil, coriander and rocket as well as sliced avocado for the guests to add after the pizza is baked. Seasonings like salt, freshly ground black pepper, chilli sauce, freshly chopped chillies and crushed garlic should also be available.
• If there isn’t space for everyone to roll out their own pizza dough, you can roll out the dough and place it on the baking trays and the guests can do the rest themselves. Once the pizzas have been topped with cheese and other ingredients, pop them into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until golden and bubbling.
• Guests can share the pizzas to try everybody else’s creations or enjoy their own as
they come out of the oven.
• You can serve a salad alongside the pizzas, if you prefer, and you can end off the meal with a dessert pizza (recipe on page 66). This will definitely be a hit with any children who are there, but most of the adults will love it too!
Tins with herbs
Create ‘flower arrangements’ that fit with your theme. Use tomato tins (Italian, if possible) and plant a variety of herbs in them. The guests can pick sprigs of the fresh herbs to garnish their pizzas.
SPICY CHICKEN, SWEETCORN AND AVOCADO
Drizzle two chicken breast fillets with olive oil and coat with Cajun spice. Cook on a griddle pan until just cooked through. Slice. Top the rolled-out pizza dough with a layer of prepared tomato sauce (recipes on page 66). Top with a combination of mozzarella and Cheddar. Add the chicken, halved mini corn and thinly sliced red onion. Bake. Once the pizza is cooked, top with scoops of avocado and freshly chopped coriander and chillies.
LOW-CARB PIZZA WITH ASPARAGUS AND HAM
Makes: 2 medium pizzas • Preparation time: 15 minutes • Baking time: 35-40 minutes • Oven temperature: 220oc
1 large cauliflower
2 large egg whites, lightly whisked
30ml grated Parmesan
30ml coconut flour
60ml tomato sauce (see page 66)
300ml grated mozzarella
50ml cooked, drained spinach
8 asparagus spears, halved lengthways
thinly sliced Black Forest ham or ham of your choice
fresh origanum, to garnish
1 Put the cauliflower into a food processer and chop until fine. Steam or cook in the microwave until tender. Drain well and cool. 2 Mix the cauliflower, egg whites, Parmesan and coconut flour together. 3 Divide the mixture in two and spread into circles on a tray lined with baking paper. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes or until it feels firm. Remove from the oven. 4 Spread the bases with the tomato sauce and then sprinkle with mozzarella. Add the spinach and asparagus. 5 Return to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Top with ham and garnish with origanum.
IT’S A GREAT IDEA TO MAKE A LARGE PIZZA WITH TWO DIFFERENT FLAVOURS ON ONE TRAY – PLACE A DIFFERENT FLAVOUR COMBINATION ON EACH HALF OF THE PIZZA.
Grilled courgette, salami and piquanté peppers
Top rolled-out pizza dough with prepared tomato sauce (recipes on page 66). Top with grilled slices of courgette, salami and piquanté peppers. Bake. Top with fresh rocket once it is out of the oven.
Roasted brinjal, pancetta and olives
Top rolled-out pizza dough with prepared tomato sauce (recipes on page 66). Top with roasted slices of brinjal, pieces of pancetta (or use bacon, if you prefer) and pitted black olives. Bake and top with thinly sliced red onion once it is out of the oven.
Pear, caramel and chocolate pizza
Serves: 8 Preparation time: 20 minutes Baking time: 40 minutes Oven temperature: 220oc
1 ready-made batch of pizza dough
90g slab of dark chocolate
100ml caramel toffee spread
2 pears, cored and sliced
50ml almonds, chopped
strawberries and icing sugar, to decorate
1 Chop half the chocolate into small pieces. Once the pizza dough has risen, knead it down and add the chopped chocolate. Fold the dough over a few times to incorporate the chocolate. 2 Roll out the dough into a circle and put it on a lightly floured tray or ovenproof pizza plate. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes. 3 Remove from the oven and spread with caramel toffee spread. Top with pear slices and sprinkle with sugar and nuts. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes until golden and cooked through. 4 Remove from the oven. Cut the remaining chocolate into shards and add to the pizza. Decorate with halved strawberries and dust with icing sugar just before serving. Serve slices of pizza on their own or with vanilla or chocolate ice cream.
You can double the quantities and make a batch large enough for two pizzas, if you prefer. Makes: 1 large pizza Preparation time: 20 minutes Baking time: 20 minutes Oven temperature: 220oc
250g white bread flour
5ml instant dried yeast
15ml olive oil
150-170ml lukewarm water
1 Put the flour, 2ml salt and yeast into a large mixing bowl. Mix the sugar, oil and lukewarm water. Add to the dry ingredients, a little at a time. Add enough water for the dough to stick together. 2 Knead the dough for 10 minutes by hand or use a food processor with a dough hook. 3 Roll the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise. Once it has risen to double its size, knead the dough again gently. 4 Roll the dough out on a clean work surface. Roll it into a circle, an oblong or to line a large rectangular baking tray. 5 Heat up the baking tray in the preheated oven before you put the dough onto it. Place the rolled out dough onto the hot tray and then spread with tomato sauce and top with cheese and the toppings of your choice.
Tomato sauce for pizzas
Makes: enough for 6-8 pizzas Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 40 minutes
30ml olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 x 410g can Italian tomatoes
25ml tomato paste
5ml dried origanum
5ml dried basil
1ml dried marjoram
pinch of sugar
1 Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Sauté the garlic for a minute. 2 Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs and sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 35 minutes until the mixture has reduced and thickened. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 3 Spread a thin layer onto the pizza dough before adding the other toppings.