How to Host a Pizza Party

Pizza

Sep 18

When was the last time you had a good old fashioned pizza party with your family and friends? Not so easy these days since everything got turned upside down because of the Coronavirus. But let’s not get upset over that, you can still have one or two close friends who are keeping safe come over. Here’s the perfect recipe plan for your Quarantine Grill Party with pizza.

Round-up the family (or Close Friends)

The name of the game is family participation and Indoor grill parties are better when everyone takes part. Be sure to have a Superbowl-like feeling with plenty of snacks and refreshments. Have fun snacks that won’t spoil the pizza, but don’t be afraid to be creative either. I like freshly sliced carrot sticks with a nice strong garlic sauce. This is made from 1-cup sour cream, 3-4 pressed garlic cloves, and a healthy dash of salt.

Other fun snacks can include sliced broccoli stalks, celery sticks, and sliced turnip. If you haven’t tried sliced raw turnip, you are missing one of life’s hidden pleasures. Just slice off the outer skin, past the thicker purplish-white covering to reveal the edible part inside. Slice it into thin sticks and you kids might prefer it over carrots in a heartbeat! Only add chips and dip if they aren’t going to spoil the pizza that comes later.

Every member can prepare for the pizza with someone making the pizza dough, another grating the cheese, and others slicing the toppings. Be sure to have as many fresh toppings available like a nice pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, onions, or whatever you like.

Add a pizza bar

pizza cooking table

Since everyone will be able to have their own pizza, you’ll want to set up an area that’s a pizza prep station. This way they can choose what goes on their pizza and call it their own. What better way than to have everyone guess what kind of pizza it is after it’s cooked, to keep the fun rolling. Depending on how many people are over, you can have one or two areas that are prep stations.

If it’s less than 4-5 people, then 1 table spot is perfectly fine. Have your guests bring a favorite topping, so there’s an option for everyone to try something new. The more toppings you can think of, the better.

How to make it the right way?

pizza dough recipes

Everyone has their personal favorite, so technically there is no right way to make a personal pizza. The dough however should be as fresh as it can be. Using ingredients that produce a fast fresh crust that everyone will love is the real secret. See our 9 favorite pizza dough recipes.

You might have specific favorites that include thick crust or thin crust, but keep in mind your cooking time. The longer people will have to wait depends on how long that crust cooks in a conventional home oven.

Using a pizza stone and peel

stone and peel for pizzaI highly recommend that anyone who loves cooking a pizza at home invests in a decent cooking stone. A traditional oven won’t reach the temperatures needed to yield a good crust, but a pizza stone will definitely make up for the lack in temperature. If the gathering turns out to be a hit, consider buying some type of (affordable) pizza oven for the next one, you can see our favorite picks here.

Don’t forget about the pizza peel is going to save you time. If you don’t know, the peel is that giant pizza spatula. It can be wooden or stainless steel, but honestly, it just comes down to personal taste. In my opinion, it should be wood because it makes for an awesome way to present your pizza.

Just like it comes out fresh from the oven, your peel is all part of the show. If you want to put your pizza into the oven, be sure to add a decent amount of flour and cornmeal. This is so your pizza slides off the peel easier. It’s also just as easy when you slice the tip of the peel under a cooked pizza to scoop it up. If you’re curious how pizza stones and peels work- don’t forget to check here too.

Differences in American and European pizza

It goes without saying that there are big differences in taste when you compare these two continents. Then again, pizza was popularized in Italy and looks nothing like the pizza we’ve come to love so much. Italian pizza has a paper-thin crust with minimal toppings. Early pizza-like variations had toppings such as chopped garlic and tomatoes, and salt and lard were added for flavor. These pizzas were mostly intended as food for poor people.

This was commonly seen through the 1700-1800s, yet the pizza didn’t get its’ first big name for itself until 1889. Not until a restaurant owned by the name of Don Raffaele Esposito was invited by the King and Queen of Italy to try his new menu creations. Out of three pizzas that Don and his wife created, only one went on to become famous. This was the Margherita pizza that was named after the Queen.

The combination of red pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil was added to commemorate the Italian flag. As a result, it became a national treasure and embodied this pizza as a symbol of the country. American pizza probably wouldn’t make a pizza with red, white, and blue toppings- that is until someone thinks of the right recipe first.

How do you like to celebrate your pizza party?

Everybody likes pizza and there’s nothing like a great pizza party to kick-off the weekend or anytime that feels right. Well if you’re like me, then you know how much pizza and parties go together hand in hand. But did you know that the origin of the pizza has a long tradition of celebration? In fact, the history of pizza has roots that connect with the celebration of holidays and even a certain Queen! Let’s find out some more already!

A gathering of tradition

Growing up around pizza has always been part of my life. I can’t forget how a single birthday was ever missed at our favorite pizza parlor. If the word pizza was ever mentioned, I knew there was a party that was being planned. Not just around birthdays but for celebrations of all sorts. It also included that first school trip to the museum to the last graduation party of the year. Yet somehow the weekend was the best kick-off tradition for having friends come over.

It’s all about toppings

Nothing defines you as a person than the toppings you like to put on your pizza. Ok, as a kid it was simple enough that a stretchy cheesy pizza was all it took. But as you got older, you started to find the favorites that you like the most. Pizza is the one food that doesn’t have a rule for topping combos. It’s encouraged to pile them up any way you like. But obviously, there are select pizzas that you just don’t change.

Hawaiian pizza

Hawaiian pizza

Meat lovers pizza

Meat pizza

classic pepperoni pizza

pepperoni pizza

chicken bbq pizza

chicken bbq pizza

The Hawaiian pizza

For some reason adding pineapple and Canadian bacon are the unmistakable flavors that make this pizza so popular. Not that anyone from Hawaii will object, but you don’t see SPAM being put on this pizza either. The indigenous Hawaiian islanders happen to love this canned meat, but for whatever reason, smooth maple-flavored ham is more suitable. It seems to add anything else to this pizza might be considered a crime in most cases.

Meat-lover’s pizza

If you were a fan of the pizza wars in the late 80s, you witnessed the birth of this decadent meaty pizza. Who doesn’t like pepperoni, sausage, and meatballs with a generous crop of mushrooms scattered around! This kind of pizza says you aren’t messing around no matter how much heartburn this combo always caused. A real favorite for the tailgate party boys, this pizza is a meal in itself.

The classic pepperoni pizza

This is the most iconic of all the pizza recipes that never get left-off the menu. This combo that includes large slices of pepperoni with mozzarella cheese is about as American as apple pie. But you probably didn’t know it was an Italian-American invention that was born in NYC around the turn of the century.

BBQ chicken pizza

Are you serious about trendy California pizza toppings? Well if you’re a fan of the California Pizza Kitchen experience, the BBQ chicken pizza changed all that in 1985. It’s usually credited to Wolfgang Puck, but the real inventor was Ed Ladou who was a head chef for Puck’s famous Spago restaurant. It just goes to show that pizza toppings have no boundaries for what can make it taste great.

How to make a great pizza party

how to celebrate pizza party

The pizza party has come to include many kinds of traditions that don’t need a special occasion needed. Just having a good reason to get together is all that most people are used to. This is why nearly any holiday is perfect for pizza. It’s not uncommon that these parties have a costume theme such as St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Super Bowl parties, and even New Year’s parties.

It also goes without saying that pizza goes with watching something on TV. It’s common for sports games like football, but is more popular is watching a new movie or an old classic. When you think of pizza and movies, how often does it bring back memories of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Reportedly in 2015, HBO threatened several watch parties in Brooklyn who gathered to watch Game of Thrones.

This prompted many fans to retreat to watching their show at home with their friends. I can just bet that pizza was part of the menu for these iconic watch events. Often it’s the best reason to gather together for nearly any reason that pops-up.

Something old/something new

Everybody knows that pizza breadsticks aren’t new and obviously put Pizza Hut on the map. Most people don’t realize they’re a smaller version of focaccia bread. If you’ve ever had focaccia bread, you’ll instantly recognize the garlic and rosemary herb flavoring. It’s essentially baked pizza dough. If you recall a little incident that buried ancient Pompeii under volcanic ashes, focaccia bread was among the things found commonly in their marketplace.

That’s how old this delicious bread snack happens to be, so no wonder that any pizza party will include pizza sticks. The newer versions usually have cheese hidden inside, twisted into spiral shapes, and come with a variety of pizza dipping sauces. Next time you get together with friends at your next pizza party be sure to watch the 2014 version of Pompeii. Half the fun will be watching John Snow battle a different natural disaster.

Be sure to watch for hidden Easter eggs where they’re eating focaccia bread too.

Pizza Party Add-on The Combos

Not every pizza that you’ll find in a pizzeria is strictly an American favorite. There’s plenty that came from Europe and of course Italy. But not totally limited to across the pond pizza, since some pizzas are made right at home.

Poorman style

how to cook Poorman style pizza

Poorman style pizza

Those days of living in your college dorm always had ups and downs when doing pizza on a budget. Hence the Poorman’s pizza was invented to make even the tightest of budgets manageable. It all starts with a packet of flour tortillas. There are often 5 in a pack which can last a couple of days. Then you need a bottle of chunky style pasta sauce, with one that isn’t runny like water. Buy a packet of sliced pepperoni and shredded parmesan cheese.

As far as fresh ingredients you need a red onion, a red bell pepper. If you can, sneak away with those pepper packets from Pizza hut or any pizza place.

You’ll also need some garlic powder, onion powder, or dry Italian seasoning. Put your pizza together and put it under a heat lamp (or conventional kitchen oven until the cheese is melted.

Prison pizza

how to cook Prison pizza

Prison pizza

Ever since an ex-con made a video showing how he could make a pizza in prison, college kids went nuts! It all starts with crushing a sleeve of Saltines and Ritz crackers with crushed ramen noodles in an empty Doritos bag and then adding hot water. Depending on what else you can find in the big house is left-up to your toppings. Slim Jim snacks for sausages and packets of cheddar cheese make the cheese topping. This might not be for everyone, but it shows that pizza can be mastered virtually anywhere.

Pizza Romana

how to cook Pizza Romana

Pizza Romana

Most of us might look at this type of pizza and likely feel it’s missing everything, but the original recipe is quite satisfying all on its own. This pizza is often called the thin crust pizza and has most of the air flattened from the dough. The crust is often crunchier towards the edges and chewier at the center. There is an obvious edge around the outer ring and has tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese slices, and tomato slices. It does look empty unless you add more toppings to it.

Pizza Capricciosa

how to cook Pizza Capricciosa

Pizza Capricciosa

A recent addition to the Italian pizzas from Italy, but it’s most likely copying the traditions of Western culture. This pizza looks like a typical thick crust pizza with several iconic toppings. These include pizza sauce, tomatoes, ham, mushrooms, olives, artichoke hearts, and slices of boiled egg. It’s then topped off with a generous amount of mozzarella cheese. Some die-hard fans also add anchovies, capers, and sausage!

If you’re from the center or to the north of Italy, the name of this pizza says it all. The name translates to capricious which is usually sudden or unpredictable behavior, and this pizza certainly nails it!

Caprese Pizza

how to cook Caprese Pizza

Caprese Pizza

You may know this one under a different name in some pizza parlors. The delicious four-cheese pizza isn’t recommended for the lactose intolerant but is distinctly an Italian creation. The iconic original cheese used for this includes gorgonzola, mozzarella, Fontina, parmesan-Reggiano. It’s not limited to switching some cheese for local varieties depending on the region. Other final toppings can include sliced tomato and basil.

Again, this is a thick crust pizza that has cheese distributed all over the surface with a crust ring showing. As a rule, the mozzarella cheese is essential along with the parmesan, but any other cheese can be substituted otherwise.

Drink recommendations

Drink recommendations for adults and kids with pizza

Adults are going to need something to enjoy their pizza with, so the right choice of wine is a question. Most people associate pizza with beer, which is fine but is more suited for that tailgate party. For your quarantine party, wine should be a taste bonanza. In this case, the best choice is a full body red wine. Some people like hearty white wines such as white merlot. There’s no bad choice when it comes to pizza and red wine.

For the kids, I always recommend Martinelli’s sparkling cider or sparkling red grape. It’s bubbly enough and looks like a grown-up drink. Every celebration just tastes more special with these two on the table. Of course, it won’t hurt to have their favorite carbonated drinks. What modern family can’t avoid having Coca-cola or Sprite at the table either?