A Squared: Girls Night Pizza Party

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Girls Night Pizza Party

I hosted a girls night earlier this week, but the last few days have been so busy that I haven't had time to sit down and recap it all for you until now!  On Friday I was doing some local travel for work and on Thursday Alex and I went to the Riviera Theatre for our belated anniversary celebration-- the Fun. concert! It was a great show.

Fun.

So, you may remember that a few weeks back Mere hosted all of us for girls night and I brought a glazed pumpkin angel food cake.  This week was my turn to host and the girls brought wine and dessert and I was in charge of the meal.  I decided to serve a pear and goat cheese salad and a few different fun pizzas, finally putting to use the pizza stone we received as a wedding gift over a year ago.  I didn't want to cop out and use Naan or pre-baked crust like I usually do when it is just Alex and me, so I went to a few grocery stores to see if I could find some bakery pizza dough, but was unsuccessful.  I decided to suck it up and make my own but I'm not the greatest baker, so I was a little nervous about the crust.  I found a great recipe via Pinterest though and [surprise!] it was a success!

I found the original pizza dough recipe here and it worked really well.  I did make a few tweaks-- I mixed mine in my mixer using the dough hook instead of in the food processor and it worked well.  Also, this recipe makes 4 individually sized pizzas, but I was making 3 kinds so I split the dough into 3 slightly larger balls.  I made the dough on Sunday night and stored it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until Wednesday.  I rolled each ball out on a lightly floured surface and then placed the rolled dough on flat baking sheet layered with a sheet of parchment paper and dusted with cornmeal.  Top the dough with desired toppings and then carefully shimmy it off the parchment paper and onto a pizza stone that has been warming in a 450 degree oven.

The results were actually really good and I have been eating the leftovers for the last few days.  Here are the recipes for my three party pizzas:



Bacon Butternut Pizza

Ingredients:
  • Rolled pizza dough
  • 1 Tbs. Extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 lb. or less)
  • 1/2 Sweet Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Tbs. butter
  • 6 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 8-10 fresh sage leaves
  • 4 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Spray or brush 1/2 Tbs. olive oil on surface of pizza dough.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel the skin off the squash and using just the long portion of it (set aside the round seeded bottom as you won't need to use that for the pizza), slice the squash into 1/4-inch rounds and arrange on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Spray or drizzle remaining 1/2 Tbs. olive oil over the squash rounds and season with salt and pepper.  Roast for about 20 minutes until fork tender, remove from the oven and cool slightly.  Arrange the squash rounds on the prepared dough, leaving 1/2 inch border around the edge.

Heat a pan over medium heat and add butter.  Once melted, add onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes.  Arrange onions on top of the squash rounds and sprinkle bacon evenly over the top.  Arrange sage leaves evenly over the pizza and top with Gruyere cheese.  Bake on pizza stone at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese begins to brown.  Remove, slice, and serve.



Spinach & Artichoke Pizza

Ingredients:
  • Rolled pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup prepared pizza sauce *My favorite is Mario Batali's brand, found at my local grocery store
  • 1/4 cup baby spinach leaves, torn into large pieces
  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and rough chopped
Spread pizza sauce evenly over prepared dough leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edges.  Sprinkle spinach evenly over the sauce and then arrange mozzarella slices in a single layer on top.  Add artichoke pieces to the top and bake at 450 on a pizza stone for 10-12 minutes until crust is golden and cheese is melted.  Remove, slice, and serve.



Chicken & Herb White Pizza (inspired by Cooking Light recipe)

Ingredients:
  • Rolled pizza dough
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk 
  • 3/4 cup grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley 
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add flour, pepper, and nutmeg; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook 3 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat; add 1/2 cup cheese, stirring until cheese melts.

Spread white sauce over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with chicken and onion and sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over the top.  Bake on pizza stone at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until crust is golden. Remove from oven, sprinkle with herbs, and serve.



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