I've decided to start hosting semi-regular potlucks. The inaugural one was a pizza potluck last weekend. The premise was that I provided dough, sauce, parmesan, and dried herbs and spices, and everyone else was encouraged to bring toppings and beverages. Check out the incredible spread, which included: goat cheese, shredded mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, my homemade ricotta, parmesan, garlic, onion, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, arugula, sausage, pepperoni, and sprouts. As well as lots of wine (see sleeping away weekend afternoons.)
I prepared the dough a couple days earlier, Heidi's pizza dough from 101 Cookbooks. This is my favorite pizza recipe for parties because it's easy to make in advance with a food processor and then slip the dough into individual oiled plastic bags in the fridge until you need them. I made three batches - 18 dough balls! For the most part, any topping preparation (chopping vegetables, grating cheese, cooking sausage) was done ahead of time to simplify the actual pizza creation process.
Each guest took a turn assembling a pizza with their desired toppings, and then everyone got to share little bites of their pizzas if they wanted. In total, the oven was on at a blistering heat for hours and we made 15 pizzas for 12 people, most of them pictured below. There were veggie pizzas, meat lover pizzas, goat cheese pizzas for the lactose intolerant, a carbonara pizza with egg on top, and a simple Neapolitan style pizza with just raw tomato sauce and mozzarella slices baked in a cast iron pan under the broiler and then on the stovetop for a nice char. Vote on your favorite in the comments!
I highly recommend a pizza party as a potluck theme. Everyone was really excited to get to make their own pizza and had a fun time. On the logistical side, it took some planning, but I was able to maximize my minimal kitchen surface area to make it possible to have a few pies going at a time. I also don't have a dining table - so for anyone who thinks their home is too small to host parties, I say that is just an excuse, and there is always a way around it. Given my love of pizza though, perhaps I should think about getting a pizza cutter... Also much love to my friends who helped me do dishes and clean up at the end of the night.