How to

Host a Pizza Party

HowtoHostaPizzaParty_03

Pizza parties are the ultimate gathering for kids and adults alike. With countless topping options and plenty of cheesy crusts to go around, you’re sure to have tons of fun. Whether you’re hosting a social night with your adult friends or a block party for neighbors of all ages, there are some simple ways you can ensure your pizza party is the talk of the town.

Start by sending out invitations. Decide if your gathering is adults-only or for the entire family, and don’t forget to include that information when you contact friends who have children. Instead of sending out a group message via social media, opt for actual paper invitations to show you’re going the extra mile in throwing a party for the ages. Be sure to ask about dietary restrictions on your invitations, and have your guests note them on their RSVP cards, so you can stock up on that gluten-free dough or that vegan mozzarella cheese.

Next, decide on the space where you want to throw your party. Pizza parties tend to be more informal than not, so the living room – rather than the dining room – will be a perfect casual and cozy space for your get together. If the weather is in your favor, consider setting up outside to make use of the the grill, or even invest in that outdoor oven you’ve always dreamed of. Just make sure you have at least one picnic table set up for the food and plenty of places for your guests to sit. Don’t forget to spruce up the space to make sure it is clean and inviting. Plan to put out tablecloths, napkins, drink glasses and an ice bucket with beverages or a durable drink dispenser if you decide to offer some refreshing lemonade (or something else tasty).

If you’re hosting your party at night, consider adding candles to the tabletops or hanging strings of lights or tiki torches to add a moody glow to the space. This creates a livelier ambience and helps the party feel a little more special. No matter the time of day, you can also decorate with fresh flowers and even fresh herbs that your guests can use on the pizza. Don’t forget a pretty tablecloth for each surface.

Now it’s time to think about the food. Start by deciding on a dough. To save some time, it’s fine to go with something already available, like French bread or store-bought crusts, but you can also make things a little fancier by giving your guests the option to make and cook their own dough from scratch, either in your oven or on your grill. Consider how much time it will take to make and bake each one with the appliances you have on hand. Start a shopping list for the ingredients you need, and keep in mind that if you’re inviting children, pre-made dough is the easiest option. You also need to decide if you’re going to make your sauce from scratch or use something you can buy at the store. Try offering two or three different types of sauce for plenty of options and customization opportunities for your guests.

The real fun is all in the toppings. Naturally, cheese is essential. Mozzarella and Parmesan are classics, while ricotta, Gouda and caciocavallo are also excellent alternatives. For your carnivorous friends, choose a few meats like pepperoni, sausage, bacon or chorizo. When it comes to vegetables, few things are off limits. Some classic options are onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, olives, spinach, zucchini and capers. If you want to step it up a notch, add pineapple, spices and olive oil to the menu. Be sure to have a variety so that each guest can create his or her perfect pizza.

You should also take inventory of your kitchen supplies. Think about whether you have enough pizza stones, pans and cutters, and be sure to assess your silverware situation. You might also consider getting a few extra bowls for serving your pizza toppings.

The night before or the day of the party, take some time to prepare: slice your toppings, shred the cheese, and get organized so all you have to do is lay everything out on the table or bar.  This way, you’ll be cool and collected before your guests arrive.