Saturday, January 17, 2009

Super Bowl Pizza Party

Homemade pizza is easy and fun to serve during a Super Bowl party. Before everyone arrives, mix up a big batch of dough (or better yet buy some from your local bakery or pizzeria), assemble your favorite toppings ---various meats, cheeses, vegetables, fresh basil --- whatever you like. When it’s time to eat, encourage everyone toss the dough high in the air like the pizza man does at the pizzeria before assembling their custom made pie and popping it in the oven. The easy part is your guests do the cooking. 

Here’s a recipe for a basic pizza sauce that is sure to please and is far superior to commercial sauces. It’s a snap to make and can be prepared in advance and frozen.

To accompany the pizzas, serve a big green salad and a simple lemon vinaigrette of three parts extra virgin olive oil to one part fresh lemon juice as the dressing. Your guests can choose additional ingredients for their salad from the cheeses and vegetables you have on the pizza bar. Purchase some big fat cookies, such as chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin, from the bakery and you have dessert. 

I’ve included a recipe for my favorite pizza, the simple Margherita with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. That particular pizza has some history to it. Queen Margherita, while visiting in Naples in 1889, grew tired of fancy French fare and wanted to try what the common people ate. The owner of the best pizzeria in Napes, Raffaele Esposito, was summoned to prepare three pizzas for her highness. His mozzarella version was her favorite, so he named it Pizza Margherita in her honor. Many people believe that particular pizza was invented for Queen Margherita, but records indicate that pizza with mozzarella, tomato and basil, the colors of the Italian flag, was eaten in Naples forty years before she sampled it. 

Basic Pizza Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cans (28 oz. each) drained & crushed Italian peeled tomatoes
4 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Pinch of ground allspice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pinch of hot red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley

Heat olive oil in a medium size non-stick skillet. Add onions and cook over low heat to wilt. Add garlic and cook one minute more. Add remaining ingredients, except parsley. Stir well, cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove cover, add parsley and simmer additional 15 minutes or until fairly thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cool and refrigerate.
Yield: 4 cups, enough for four 12” pizzas. Can make ahead and freeze in one cup portions.

Assorted pizzas

Pizza Margherita 

Dough for 12” pizza
1 cup basic pizza sauce, recipe above
½ lb. Mozzarella cheese, grated
2 ripe tomatoes cut in ¼” dice
8 to 10 sliced black olives
8 whole fresh bail leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper

At least one half hour before cooking, preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. Shape pizza dough and place on a pan sprinkled with cornmeal. Spread pizza sauce on dough, leaving a 1” rim. Top with cheese, sprinkle with tomatoes and arrange basil on top. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Bake on bottom rack in oven until crust is golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. 

Pizza with everything


  1. What a fun and clever idea for a super bowl party. The pizzas all look really good.

  2. Sam,
    Thanks for the delicious recipes for pizza. All these pizzas look really good.

  3. It looks like you have got the throwing action under control. Good on ya!!!

  4. I love pizza, I make it all the time. It's so versatile and great for a quick dinner if you've got pre-made dough.

  5. How fun! This is a great idea for a party.

  6. Thanks everyone for stopping by my kitchen. I was a little reluctant to throw the pizza dough the first time, but once you get the hang of it, it's a crowd pleaser for kids through adults. Cooking together is a great way for everyone to get to know each other and it's amazing to see what crazy combinations of foods people put on their pizza.

    As Julia Child would say, "Cooking together is such fun."

  7. What a great idea for a party, Sam. Make your own pizzas. I've seen the dough in the grocery and thought about it before. This looks easy enough for me to try.

  8. You two look like you are having fun...

  9. Don't eat too much tonight during the game. May the best team win.

  10. We went to a neighbors for their Super Bowl party and I took Jacques Pepin's smoked salmon pizza on naan bread and it was a big success. Everyone raved about how gorgeous it was and it was eaten in a flash. See the picture in the post Tomato Pizza on Nann Flatbread:

  11. Beautiful! I love making homemade pizza, in fact Fridays are homemade pizza night "chez nous". Since I do it every week, I rarely make my own sauce, but I think that I will try yours.

  12. Those look really good: I prefer thin crust pizzas too.

    I'm impressed w/your tossing skills: I tried it one time, but did not get anywhere as high as you did.

  13. Man, I should take note of all of these for the next Superbowl! Tired of the buffalo wings and the beer, and my cousin's got his gout now. Plus, those stuff's not really for kids. It would really be better to have kick-ass food that will be enjoyed by the entire family, as much as possible. Besides, the bros probably won't complain once they see all these marvelous pictures haha! So that's settled now.


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