There's nothing that says "party" quite like pizza! But sometimes, delivery pizza just doesn't quite hit it. There are the endless debates about toppings, trying to get the order squared away with the poor pizza slave with all your "half-olives and half-pineapple with tomato on the whole thing and sausage on the half with the olives," waiting for the delivery to arrive, figuring out the tip, and somehow, you always end up with half a box of the kind you absolutely will not eat. What a drag.
But there is a way to make pizza the life of the party, get everyone from picky eaters to adventurous foodies what they want with no compromises, and do it for a lot cheaper than delivery. DIY Pizza Party!
Homemade pizza is a snap to make. It's half-a-snap (a...lonely finger?) if you have a bread machine. The morning of your gathering, make a few batches of your favorite dough recipe and after they rise a bit, leave them in the fridge to make the dough more workable. (There's a lot of online debate about the perfect pizza dough, but I'm easy so I just make either this random recipe I googled or the one in the bread machine recipe book. Works just fine.)
You could prep some common toppings and set them up in a stylish toppings bar like Haute Apple Pie did with a mashed potato bar:
Or, if you're more of a hands-off (or low budget) host, or you have friends with eccentric tastes, make it a BYOToppings event. When my roomies and I hosted Pizza & Star Wars earlier this year, we provided dough, sauce, and cheese and asked our guests to bring whatever they would like on top. It was fun to see all the stuff they brought along!
As you may have guessed from the name, our party centered around making personal pizzas, then watching Star Wars (The Empire Strikes Back, to be precise). And hey, what could go better with pizza than a movie? But pizza could be a precursor to pretty much any activity. I would definitely attend a Pizza & Board Games party, Pizza & Hair Braiding (as long as there's a hand-washing portion hanging out in the ampersand), Pizza & Vampires. I just like pizza and other things in general.
If you want to get really fun (and I know bloggers are some of the best hosts around), I love the idea of buying a few pizza boxes (I googled and found these) for leftovers. You could make a neat little pizzeria label for yourself, or just keep it simple:
Modge-podge or glue it to your boxes, or if you're really cool, pick up some self-adhesive paper! That way your friends can take home their delicious creation (if there's any leftover!).
- Stagger your prep if possible -- you can only fit so many pizzas in an oven at once! Serve salad and breadsticks for sides or for people to nibble on while they wait for their pie.
- Related: consider what pans are useable. It might make more sense for people to make square pizzas and then double up on a cookie sheet than have a lot of unused pan space with a traditional round one.
- Keep an eye on that dough. If you're not used to working with dough, you might be surprised by how much it will grow left alone! I've definitely had dough go Little Shop of Horrors on me and burst free of plastic wrap to try to devour the rest of the contents of my fridge.
- If you want to save time (and mess), roll out the dough into circles ahead of time. But it is pretty darn fun for guests to play with the dough and form their pizza!
Even if you aren't throwing a party, homemade pizza is surprisingly easy and brings a lot of fun and deliciousness to the table. My bread machine is humming away right now kneading some dough for my family to have our own private pizza party tonight!