Pizza Night For the Family
Want a fun way to bring your family together for dinner? Make one night a week "Pizza Night". Forget about ordering in, making your own pizza is easy and inexpensive. Perfect for a Sunday night when the weekend is winding down, Pizza Night is a dinner activity that your whole family will enjoy. What's more, by making your own pizza, you can create a flavor combination that's Domino's never dreamed of.
Even if you owe your entire home pizza baking experience to Chef Boyardee, you can still make great pizza at home with minimal effort and equipment. The only special equipment you need is a pizza cutter and something to bake your pizza on. You can make pizza on a cookie sheet, but you will get better results if you purchase a pizza stone or better yet, go to the home improvement store and buy 6 unglazed terra cotta tiles. Baking your pizza on a hot stone cooks it from the bottom and creates a crispy crust. Even if you are a deep dish pizza fan, a stone will help to cook your pizza evenly and quickly. The key is to let your stone or tiles thoroughly pre-heat. Because you need to cook your pizza at 450-500 degrees, pre-heating could take up to an hour, so be sure to allow enough time.
To streamline the pizza making process, purchase fresh unbaked pizza dough at the supermarket or go to the bakery counter and purchase some unbaked French bread dough. When you get home, simply roll it out on a floured surface, top and bake. For thin crust pizzas, sprinkle some corn meal on the back of a cookie sheet without raised sides. Assemble your pizza and slide it onto the tiles with a quick jerk. For deep dish pizza, just press the dough into a pan with raised sides and add your toppings. Pizzas only need to bake 7-10 minutes at 450-500 degrees, maybe a few minutes longer for deep dish pies. Your pizza is done when the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.
On to the toppings. A world of pizza exists beyond pepperoni and sausage. Once you have a crust, there is no limit to the combination's you can create. Some suggestions:
* Brush your crust with olive oil and top with blue cheese, pears, walnuts and mozzarella.
* Carmelize some onions and minced garlic in a skillet until soft and golden brown, use with Fontina cheese and olive oil. Browned sausage is nice here, too
* Olive oil, pesto, olives and goat cheese is a savory, tangy combination.
* Spinach and goat cheese with olive oil.
* Simply brush your crust with olive oil and top with Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, garlic and minced herbs – try rosemary, marjoram, basil, oregano and chives.
* Pizza Margarita, the Italian classic. Sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and torn basil leaves.
* Shrimp with Swiss cheese and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.
* Four or five cheeses – Camembert, gorgonzola, provolone and mozzarella.
* Smoked ham and apples with Swiss cheese
* Create a breakfast or dessert pizza by topping your pizza with jam and fresh fruit.
Making pizza at home is a great way to bring your family together. Let everyone make their own and you will be amazed at the different combinations they come up with. Bon appetitte!