Entertaining: DIY Pizza

Despite my bite sized kitchen, I love to entertain. And now that the weather is getting warmer, barbeques are a plenty and it’s nice to have an easy and affordable alternative, such as pizza!

You were probably thinking I’d say fruit salad, corn on the cob, or even pasta salad. But pizza, in summer… well, it’s genius! Pizza is another one of those foods that you’re quick to purchase because it’s quick, affordable, and delicious. And for someone whose looking to entertain, homemade pizza makes a greater  starter or main course and will most definitely impress your guests!

Pizza is an ideal food because of its versatility. Pizza can be vegetarian, gluten-free, kosher, and will probably fall into a plethora of other categories that are important to health conscious, allergy-cautious, or religiously observant eaters. Pizzas are also very easy to make as they can be cooked in the oven on a sheet pan or pizza stone (which I highly recommend), a cast iron pan, or even on the grill (on a sheet pan).

To save time, I like to buy pre-made dough which you can pick up from a local pizzeria or at Trader Joe’s (which comes in white flour, whole wheat, or herb flavors for 99 cents). I also like to have some corn meal on hand which I spread at the bottom of the baking dish or pizza stone before cooking.

Grilled Pizza This past weekend I decided I’d try and grill my pizza on the barbeque. Though I’d seen recipes where the dough was cooked directly on the grill, I had a feeling that the dough would stick to the actual grill leaving me with very little to work with. Because I used a sheet pan to grill the entire pizza, from dough to cheese, the pizza didn’t retain the smokey flavor I was after. I guess next time I’ll have to try my luck by grilling the dough.

But whether you’re grilling pizza or baking it in the oven, you’re guests will taste and appreciate the homemade goodness of a DIY Pizza.

Margherita-Garlic Pizza

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package Pizza Dough
  • Extra Flour
  • Marinara Sauce (up to 4 cups)
  • Fresh Mozzarella (8 oz), thinly sliced
  • Chopped Jarred Garlic (1/8 cup)
  • Fresh Basil, chiffonade
  • Olive Oil

TOOLS

  • Rolling Pin
  • Pizza Stone (or Aluminum Sheet Pan/Baking Sheet)

PREPARATIONS

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees and begin heating your pizza stone until oven is completely pre-heated.
  2. Spread out about 1/4 cup flour on top of your countertop. Roll out pizza dough into one long rectangle that will fit on your pizza stone.
  3. Once the pizza stone is preheated, take it out of the oven and spread a light coat of corn meal on the bottom of the pizza stone.
  4. Lightly coat one side of the dough with olive oil and place that side facing down into the pizza stone. Then lightly coat the other side of the dough with olive oil and a few tablespoons of chopped garlic.
  5. Then spread anywhere from 2-4 cups of marinara sauce over the pizza dough and losely cover with the 8 oz of fresh mozzarella and basil.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is no longer gummy but crunchy and the cheese bubbly.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Pizza, Brooklyn Style

Grimaldi'sAt this point in my life, it’s pretty embarrassing that before Sunday I’d never been to Grimaldi’s. I say “at this point” because

1) I’m a Foodie
2) I’m a New Yorker
3) Pizza is my roommate Sarah’s favorite food
4) My second favorite food is cheese

Though there are probably more Pizza places per block in the five boroughs than anywhere in the world (well maybe not Italy), Pizza is one of those foods that we can never have enough of. Thin crust, thick crust, marinara, white, sausage, veggie… the options are endless. And clearly if the perfect pizza already existed, a new pizza place wouldn’t be opening every other week, right?

So what makes Brooklyn pizza, or Grimaldi’s for that matter, better than pizza in Manhattan, well I’ll tell you…

Grimaldi's Pizza

According to Grimaldi’s, a great pizza is made with three things; fresh, quality ingredients, know-how, and a great oven. Once you’ve tasted Grimaldi’s pizza, you can attest to their fresh ingredients. Grimaldi’s original thin crust pizza is dressed beautifully with a slightly sweet marinara and topped with incredbly fresh mozzarella and basil. They also offer a choice of  16 toppings from their home smoked roasted peppers to sweet italian sausage. But as far as their know-how and great oven, you need to see it to believe it.

Grimaldi's

Grimaldi's

Grimaldi's

Grimaldi’s bakes anywhere from 300-400 pizzas every day and probably more on weekends. And how might you ask? Aside from their very capable staff they have a great coal fired brick oven that reaches a firey 850 degrees and pumps out pizzas in two minutes flat! Apparently, it’s the coal-fired oven that distinguishes Brooklyn pizza from Manhattan pizza, since coal-fired ovens aren’t permitted in Manhattan. But Serious Eats seems to have disproven this theory based on their coal-oven pizzeria map. So please, someone tell me how they are different?

But regardless of the Manhattan vs. Brooklyn Pizza battle, Grimaldi’s is a Landmark and a MUST TRY for tourists, New Yorkers, and anyone after a world-renowned pizza. After all, owner Patsy Grimaldi learned from the chef of America’s FIRST PIZZERIA, Gennaro Lombardi. (Lombardi’s is next on the list…I know I can’t believe I haven’t been there either!)

Grimaldi'sGrimaldi’s is certainly one of the best pizzerias for thin crust New York style pizza. Though I must admit that a standard slice of cheese pizza is more up my alley.