Who doesn’t love a pizza party? You know what is even better? A pizza party where you can have whatever you want on your pizza without having to negotiate with the other party people. The answer? Making your own personal pizzas.
Sure, you can share pieces of your creations with others once it is made, or you can be greedy and just enjoy it all on your own. There are so many fun toppings you can collect and a world of topping combinations out there to try. It means that I can have my simple pesto, mozzarella, salami pizza and maybe snag a piece of pepperoni and sausage too.
I remember when I was in college, probably my freshman year. I went home for the holidays and hosted a New Year’s party for my friends at my parent’s house. My mom set up a make your own pizza bar and we had a ball. Sure, some of the guys had super weird pizzas with eggrolls and cheetos on them, but for the most part, it was all pretty standard fare.
I have read this recipe for pizza a million times in my Barefoot Contessa Parties book. I finally decided to give homemade pizza dough a try and boy was it worth it! This would be perfect for a casual dinner party with friends, or even better, for your Super Bowl party this weekend! Get together, design your own pizzas, and enjoy! In fact, it really simplifies things if you have a number of people with allergies in attendance. And did I mention, it’s fun?
Homemade Personal Pizzas
Crust from the Barefoot Contessa
For the pizza
1 1/4 cups warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
Good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
- Crumbled, cooked Italian sausage
- roasted red peppers
- olive oil
- fresh tomatoes
- sundried tomatoes
For the dough, combine the water, yeast, honey, and 3 tablespoons olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of the flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough.
Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.
When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is clean!)
Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place 2 circles on each parchment-lined sheet pan. (If you’ve chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.)
Create each pizza with the toppings you have assembled. Try everything!
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.
Photographs by Jessica Yager
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