Pizza Party

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate. --Julia Child

I used to love going to slumber parties when I was a kid. Probably because it usually meant I'd be staying in town and there would be pizza.  We lived out in the country so we didn't usually have pizza delivered (we had to meet the delivery guy halfway in a church parking lot--true story).

There's nothing better than pizza and friends, and Chris and I had a fun night recently with some of our friends...making pizzas!  (Hint: It would be a great way to spend a Friday night...)

We purchased dough for two pies from the local pizza place ($3 each) and cut each in half, so we had four pieces.  We each took one and stretched and shaped the dough into a small pie. Then, we ladled sauce over the dough and topped with our favorite toppings: fresh mozzarella and basil for one; sausage, artichokes and smoked mozzarella for another; olives, roasted peppers, mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni, and green peppers for the third; and grated Parmesan, fresh mozzarella, shredded mozzarella and sausage for the last one.  

We hung around the kitchen island, drinking wine and making the pizzas. We'd eat them as soon as they came out of the oven, all bubbly and hot. (I had the regular oven with the pizza stone and the convection oven both going at about 450-475 degrees each.)  The pizzas were terrific--the crust was chewy yet crisp, and the fresh ingredients really made them sing.  And, we of course had fun using our hands and making a mess in the process.  

An adult pizza party that made us feel like kids again.  How fun is that?

Simple Pizza Sauce
1 large can (28 oz) peeled San Marzano tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
1 TBS Parmesan
2 tsp dried oregano
Kosher salt to taste
1/2-1 tsp extra fine sugar
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Peel and halve the garlic cloves and rub them on the sides and bottom of a large nonreactive bowl, then set aside for future use, or toss.  Pour the tomatoes in the bowl and puree, using an immersion blender. Stir in the seasonings, adding more or less to taste.  You want the sauce to be subtle so it doesn't overtake the toppings, but you want it to taste good, too.