Summer Pizza Parties
It's summertime, and for our house, that means summer pizza parties! Summer pizza toppings are my absolute fave, and far exceed every other season! Peaches! Figs! Nectarines! Tomatoes! Summer offers everything this California girl could want. We are immensely lucky to have a pizza oven in our backyard (it was here when we moved in - how awesome is that?!), but if you don't have a pizza oven, it's 100% delicious to use a cast-iron skillet and a piping hot 500F oven.
Below, my secrets to an excellent pizza party:
1. Have enough dough on hand! I'm not covering all the different types of dough you can make in this post, but if you follow a Mario Batali or Nancy Silverton recipe for dough - you can't go wrong. Depending on the size of the party, I either make my own, or buy from a trusted local Italian deli or market. (Lucca's if you're in San Francisco). The most important thing for the party? Have enough! Opt for at least 1 8" pizza per person, with a couple of extras. More is better - you can always freeze it or use it in a creative way later on in the week!
2. The toppings! You need less than you think. My first pizza parties ended up with a plethora of extra toppings and produce, but a little extra is never too much of an issue - make a giant salad the next day! For example, if I'm using peaches on four pizzas - I really only need 2 large peaches! I'll give examples for a six person pizza party below.
3. Have pizza plans in mind, even if you're having a "make your own" party. I find people are always way happier with the outcome if I've made a predetermined pizza for them. At this point, I usually insist on making all of the pizzas. Then, we end up with delicious, well-thought-through concoctions, rather than a slap happy mess. If you want a "make your own" style party, choose three or four types of pizza you want to make, and cluster those toppings together in your spread.
4. Cornmeal. Instead of flour on the bottom, opt for a thin scattered layer of cornmeal. You get more slide and less stick.
5. A layer of olive oil. Always spoon or brush a little olive oil onto the entire dough before topping.
6. Don't oversauce or overtop! A thin layer of sauce. A thin layer of cheese. Just a few toppings. It's always less than you think. Of course, this depends on the thickness of the crust, and a thicker crust can handle a few more toppings. Don't forget to leave a rim for the crust.
PIZZA PARTY PLAN (six people)
SUNGOLD TOMATO, SWEET CORN, BASIL + RICOTTA
NECTARINE, FiG, BALSAMIC GLAZE + RICOTTA
PEACH, Prosciutto, Spicy Honey + Burrata
Classic Marinara, Salami, + Fresh Mozzarella
enough for 6, thin, 8" pizzas
If making your own: Nancy Silverton's is tried and true
2 ripe yellow peaches
2 ripe white nectarines
1 basket black mission figs
1 basket sungold cherry tomatoes
1 sweet corn cob
1 bunch basil
1 small bunch arugula
4 oz high quality marinara
High quality olive oil
Balsamic glaze (can buy, or make your own by simmering 1 cup balsamic with 1/4 cup white sugar until glaze forms)
Spicy honey (can buy, or make your own by just combining aleppo chili flakes with honey over low heat for a couple of minutes)
(1) Bellwether Farms' whole milk ricotta or other high quality ricotta
(1) Fresh mozzarella
(0.25lb) genoa salami
1. Roll out dough to desired thickness. Make sure to place pizza dough on top of cornmeal on the pizza stone, cast-iron skillet, or pizza peel before topping. If it's a cast-iron skillet or pizza stone, make sure you've placed it in a 500F oven for 10 minutes beforehand.
2. Top your pizzas:
- Thin layer olive oil, then thin layer marinara sauce, topped with 4-5 thin slices of mozzarella, and topped with thinly sliced salami and a light sprinkle of chopped arugula or basil
- Thin layer olive oil, then thin layer ricotta, topped with 3-4 quartered figs, 6-8 slices of white nectarine, a drizzle of balsamic syrup
- Thin layer olive oil, topped with 6-8 slices yellow peaches, 5-6 slices of prosciutto, a drizzle of spicy honey. Nestle small mounds of burrata in between toppings.
- Thin layer olive oil, then thin layer ricotta, topped with a handful of halved sungold cherry tomatoes, a handful of sweet corn, and chopped basil. Top with Aleppo pepper.
3. Place in 500F oven for 8-10 minutes, or pizza oven for directed length of time. Pull out when crust is just golden brown and toppings are still fresh and not overcooked.
4. Enjoy! Who the F doesn't love some freshly cooked summer pizzas?!