No matter the time of year or the occasion, pizza is the best (and easiest!) way to please a crowd. Make cooking into a group activity with a make-your-own pizza party — it’s fun and casual, and you can do it right in your kitchen. You mix the dough and prep the toppings ahead of time, then let guests join in the fun, tossing and stretching the dough and arranging their favorite toppings. Here are our tips and recipes for pulling it off.
Since cooking is part of the party, it’s a good idea to have snacks for people to nibble on as they prepare the main course. These tomato-mozzarella skewers are easy and beautiful; a platter of fresh stone fruits and cured meats fits the informal vibe perfectly.
There’s no limit to the number of delicious pizza toppings you can have, so be creative! We recommend offering a mix of meat and vegetarian pizzas, as well as some white pizzas and some with tomato sauce. Start with a classic, like this heirloom tomato and arugula pizza, and accompany with some unexpected flavors. This Meyer lemon and goat cheese pizza is wonderfully tangy, while this fig and prosciutto pie expertly combines sweet and salty.
On the side, serve a crisp, refreshing salad, like our shaved fennel salad with citrus and olives. For dessert, keep it simple — homemade gelato or affogato complete the Italian theme, or you can simply pair roasted fruits with sweetened whipped cream or ricotta.
- 1 day ahead: Make the pizza dough, cover and refrigerate overnight. Make and freeze the gelato.
- Day of: Prep the pizza toppings and appetizers.
- Just before serving: Make the salad. Finish the dessert. Bake the pizzas and enjoy!
Divide the cooking tasks among your guests — one person can shape the dough, while the others top and bake the pizzas. Mix it up halfway through the night so everyone can try something new.
Instead of a set table, stand flatware in tumblers on the kitchen island. This party should feel communal and convivial.
Pile extra vegetables in a simple bowl to create an easy, informal centerpiece.
For wine, serve a smooth, medium-bodied red to complement the pizzas. Our pick: the 2009 Domaine Gaston et Pierre Ravaut Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru from the Williams-Sonoma Wine Shop.
Keep aluminum foil on hand to pack up any leftover pizza for guests to take home — they’ll have lunch for the following day!