Summer is slowly coming to an end, the leaves are turning, the mornings are getting colder, time to have another Pizza Night!
We invited about 20 friends over the house the other night for some pizza. It was a great night. The food was great, the wine was great, the fire pit was burning away, and everyone had a fantastic time.
Pizza night is always fun because you can invite a lot of people over to eat and not have to kill yourself cooking. It’s pizza, how easy is that?
I made the dough a day early using this dough recipe. I made the fresh mozzarella two days before using this mozzarella recipe. And we bought the pepperoni, sausage, bacon, prosciutto, sopressata, and salami, so that was easy.
Since we did preparation ahead of time, all the was left was to get the pizza oven up to cooking temp, which is about 800 to 900 degrees. That usually takes at least an hour.
I start by stacking some thin wood on top of crumbled newspaper.
Light it up, and wait. Make sure the fire is going good before you walk away. I have had it go out on me once and that wastes some time.
Now that the fire is burning pretty good, its time to relax.
Once the initial stack starts turning to embers, I add a few more logs to keep the heat going.
It takes some time to learn how your oven works, but after you use it a few dozen times you really get a feel for it. You can just look inside and tell from the embers how hot or cold it is and if you need to add more wood.
There is a really easy way to tell when you are getting close to putting in the first pizza, the oven starts to “clear.”
Clearing is when you can see all the black soot burning off and the bricks become clear. Once that happens, feed a few more sticks in there, push the embers to the back and sides, and you are ready for the first pizza of the night.
You need to pull it out and spin it every ten seconds or so. When a pizza cooks in 60 to 90 seconds, you really need to be attentive.
Here it is after 90 seconds. Perfect.
I try to make a lot of different pies. Then everyone just grabs a slice here, another one there, its great that way.
Margherita with some meat.
Sopresatta and bacon.
I took a quick break and grabbed a bite…
Then back to the grindstone for a salami pizza.
Actually I am kidding about the “grindstone” comment. Making pizza for a party is a lot of fun. The oven becomes the focal point for a pretty large group. Everyone likes to hang around and talk while the pizzas cook.
I thought it would be a fun way to cook for parties when I built this pizza oven. And it has exceeded my expectations.
There is something almost primal about hanging out with a bunch of friends while you cook inches away from burning embers and flames.
Take it from me, you need a pizza oven.
Or even better, talk one of your friends into building one so you can go to their house to hang out.
Actually that might be a better idea, because it took me a good bit of time to build this oven.
We had a great time and even cooked a few more pies into the wee hours of the night.