pizza party

July 18th, 2008 · 46 Comments

there was a little birthday gathering at my house last night for one of my very closest friends.  after considering a pasta dish that i’ve been dying to make (happening late next week due to a special order ingredient), i decided to do pizzas – with skewered tiger shrimp and spicy chorizo to kick it all off, and homemade blueberry cake and ‘sweet cream’ ice cream to wind it all down.  there was also going to be my simple but perfect toss of romaine, walnut oil, garlic and guerende salt – but quite honestly by the time i went to throw it together, no one cared.  i mean, i did ask.  but everyone was too busy jamming crusty hot triangles of melty cheesy goodness into their mouths to think about anything like salad.  so we sat in my kitchen with no less than 3 ovens set to 500+ degrees on a very balmy hot july night, the a/c barely able to penetrate the heat – and we ate pizza – 3 ways. 

yukon gold potato, pancetta and taleggio
(with parmigiano, rosemary and thyme)
gorgonzola, pear and arugula
(with parmigiano and cracked black pepper)

fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomato and basil leaves
(with – parmigiano…)

pre pancetta and parmigiano

this pancetta?  eaten raw it is equally sublime… go lardo.

gorgonzola and pear – pre-arugula

just absolutely excellent…

it’s total pizza porn, i know…

the inspiration and the recipe source for the ‘potato taleggio pancetta’ pizza came from ‘dolce & nutella‘.  i love this blog.  LOVE this blog.  it’s smart – and beautiful on many levels and i think she’s a wonderful writer.  there’s even a 4 part series on gelataria’s in rome (start here) – which is certainly the most definitive, if not exhaustive piece on the subject. 

the pancetta was a generous gift from ‘on the kitchen steps‘.  this blogger has threatened to salt, cure and smoke his way through ruhlman’scharcuterie‘, and the recipe came straight from those hallowed pages.  the final product was, as one might expect – excellent.  it did the pizza proud. 

the starter of the evening, the colossal tiger shrimp (whole foods – 15 shrimp for $35 – and actually worth the money) were meaty and flavorful, skewered alongside some very good chorizo.  the idea for this wonderful combo was brought to my attention by kalofagas.  i didn’t skewer them all nestled together and cozy like he did (rush rush) but damn, they were good.

now, i know what you’re all wanting to ask me.  and i absolutely refuse to have any serious guilt over not making my own pizza dough, especially since i can make a pretty fine version that’s been meticulously researched and honed over the years.  but since you are relentlessly insisting on full disclosure, i bought my dough in a refrigerated baggy from PUBLIX.  ok?  are you happy?  dear readers, i am only one woman.  and i had shopping to do, a cake to bake and prep work and well, i don’t get started until at least 11 am most mornings.  so something had to give.  and it was the dough.  which was a solid B. 

but – the pizza dough used for the margarita pie was made by my friend, brad.  his wife joanna brought some over from their freezer stash and it was quite good.  i think.  because that pizza was the last from the oven.  and by then a few bottles of wine had been downed and i had eaten my way past the point of diminishing returns – with dessert on the horizon.  still, brad’s a fine cook so i trust that his dough was far superior to the supermarket version… or was it?

happy birthday rick. 
i absolutely adore you both in and out of the kitchen…


Tags: pizza

46 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Diana // Jul 18, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Fabulous. Must try potato pizza. Will reinvigorate my marriage.

  • 2 Mary Coleman // Jul 18, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    I would have rolled down the hill and all the way home after that meal. Looks fabulous as usual!

  • 3 Robert // Jul 18, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    I can envision you trying to sell a salad to that crowd……

  • 4 NOBLE PIG // Jul 18, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    Lordy, where was I?

  • 5 [eatingclub] vancouver || js // Jul 19, 2008 at 1:01 am

    Love the pizzas! Good to have you back. . .you are back, aren’t you?

  • 6 Vincent // Jul 19, 2008 at 2:26 am

    so i was in the new kitchen making crab cakes again…(!) and your post came up.

    I love the fact that you have 3 ovens, can deal with the heat and you have no shame getting the dough from elsewhere. Pizza was my first food venture and the kids make it for me on my birthday – such a great post.

  • 7 Vincent // Jul 19, 2008 at 2:31 am

    and blueberry cake? ice cream? yes please? yes freaking please?

    really…i love summer. ttys

  • 8 diva // Jul 19, 2008 at 3:44 am

    i’ve been seeing homemade pizza every foodblog i go. man, i’d love to have some and join the pizza party. this looks fab!

  • 9 Lesley // Jul 19, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Ah, thank you. I get so much grief for not making my own pizza dough, but Weisenberger’s Mill in Kentucky makes a fine mix, I’m happy with it, and that’s that. I’m not going to kill myself to try to make something someone else can make better. Which is why I don’t make Indian or Vietnamese food. Life’s too short.

  • 10 lifeinrecipes // Jul 19, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Hot kitchen and all, that looks like one helluva celebration.

    And thanks for the tip on the good chorizo. I’ve yet to figure out the link-thingy.

  • 11 TaratheFoodie // Jul 19, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Look at Rick…. rockin’ the tie-dye… Rick-a-roni… (<— said in your best Rob Schneider copy-guy voice).

    Claudia, that pizza with the pancetta and potatoes just gave me a special feeling. I won’t elaborate. haha…

    Looks like you had a party filled with perfect food. Bravo!

  • 12 Marc @ No Recipes // Jul 19, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Great idea. Those pizza’s look fantastic!

  • 13 cookiecrumb // Jul 19, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Ohgod, what fun. A pizza party with killer pizza.
    Pears on pizza? Come see me, Claudia, my tree is about to drop hundreds of pounds of Bartletts.

  • 14 Lauren // Jul 19, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    the pic just doesn’t do the potato pizza justice. just know that i’m wiping drool off my keyboard now.
    i feel warm and fuzzy.

  • 15 ntsc // Jul 20, 2008 at 7:07 am

    It is time to do pizza again.

  • 16 Donald // Jul 20, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Nice! That yukon gold pizza looks like a todo-er.

    Oh yeah, my birthday is in June…hint hint! :-)

  • 17 zenchef // Jul 20, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Those pizza look AWESOME!! I shouldn’t have visited your blog around lunchtime though. Now i’m in for some serious craving and i’m too lazy to make my own on a sunday. Arrgghhhh..

    btw: You went to Alinea??.. I hate you!!.. in a good way. :-)

  • 18 Melissa Rhinolegs // Jul 20, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    claudia, never tried the publix dough but, fyi, tom lazzaro sells frozen pizza dough at lazzaroli. i usually call ahead to make sure he’s got some, and it’s best if you plan in advance so it has enough time to thaw, but it’s very good. i haven’t bothered to make dough since…

  • 19 Rebecca (foodie With Family) // Jul 20, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    Ohmygorsh. You cannot fathom the depths of my obsession with pizza. Good pizza, that is.

    Those look amazing. Thanks for getting me out of the ham, bacon, pineapple, onion rut.

  • 20 Jeff // Jul 20, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    C — Great post — what heirloom T did you use? I’ve started taste-testing from the Farmers’ Market and there are amazing wide variations in acidity and sweetness and texture!

    Been making my own flatbread pizzas — so much easier than the big-crusted kinds (the dough is a snap). Last effort was German striped heirloom tomatoes with blueberries, tarragon, basil, some hot banana peppers and bleu cheese…with walnut oil (thanks for that tip).

    Hey, cookie crumb — can I join in the Bartletts?


  • 21 Brittany // Jul 20, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    The pancetta pizza gave me a boner. That is on my must make ASAP list.

  • 22 michelle @ TNS // Jul 21, 2008 at 7:08 am

    we grilled pizza over the weekend, but none were as fancily schmancily topped as yours. LOVE potato pizza.

    also, that’s your kitchen? how many ovens do you have?

  • 23 The Urban Eater // Jul 21, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Dear god Claudia, that looks deeeeelicious. Pre-bought dough? We can’t all be Martha, for christ’s sake and really, who wants to be? Too much work.

  • 24 lisa // Jul 21, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Gorgonzola, pear, arugula. That will happen. Why haven’t I put arugula on pizza before?

  • 25 Meg // Jul 21, 2008 at 10:43 am

    I was relieved to read that you didn’t make the pizza dough; you got yourself into a serious cooking frenzy there. The pear gorgonzola looks fantastic- I never seem to think of adding cool (as in temperature) ingredients on top. Thanks for the shout-out, too. If I could blush (dark olive skin. very rarely shows it), I would.

  • 26 Heather // Jul 21, 2008 at 11:32 am

    I totally don’t make pizza dough, ever. I have a couple times, but it has never been like “zomg I must always make my own dough.” Store-bought ftw!

    I make a pretty decent pear-rosemary-gorg pizza that I just effing love, though. I put arugula on my chanterelle-chevre pizza in the Autumn time. Those prawns look to die.

  • 27 becky and the beanstock // Jul 21, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    I’m in a small ( but delightful) town with extremely spotty internet and cell phone access, but when I saw you had a new post I spent some of my precious bandwidth reading it. Before I lose connectivity again, let me just say this: Oh, YUM.

  • 28 melissa // Jul 21, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    I’ve got that Italian market to get good dough from, but as I’ve said before, I scared myself last time. It was such a failure I actually cried. Gotta do it again (*repeating as mantra*).

    These look just… no words… utterly blissfully good. I showed the pictures to no less than 3 people at my house on Saturday because I couldn’t get over them.

    And I’m not even a pizza fan!

  • 29 Kevin // Jul 21, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Look at all of that great food! I really like the gorgonzola and pear combo!

  • 30 joycooks // Jul 21, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Wow, that looks like some really good pizza –as good as any I had in Italy.

    Glad you are back home! Can’t wait to hear about chicago…

  • 31 Kim // Jul 22, 2008 at 6:35 am

    As soon as I saw this I knew I wanted the pancetta and potato pizza. That is till I saw the pear and gorgonzola pizza. My birthday is in September, when it will be cooler for you to fire up 3 ovens.

  • 32 Chris // Jul 22, 2008 at 8:54 am

    C – I am honored that you used the pancetta in such a cool way.
    Did you actually eat some like lardo? Cooool. I’ll have try that.

    You want a guanciale?

  • 33 We Are Never Full // Jul 22, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    i’ll take a piece of that taleggio pie. Whoa… this looks like a great party! great minds must think alike cause we just made 4 different pizza’s for a group of friends too. Nothing like it.

  • 34 Brittany // Jul 22, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    I’m tagging you for a music meme. See my blog for details.

  • 35 tastymealsathome // Jul 22, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Wow !! Looks fantastic – professional!

  • 36 democommie // Jul 23, 2008 at 5:33 pm


    Those pizzas look like $35 apiece, damn! I started drooling as soon as I saw the header, never mind the photos.

  • 37 Cathy C // Jul 23, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Hi Claudia
    I think I love you – Pizza is my weakness and WINE of course and these look amazing!! YUM

    Thanks for visiting our crazy website! Please come back and play soon!! I look forward to more of your kickass recipes!!


  • 38 Peter // Jul 23, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    I didn’t get to give you any lardo. Seems like you’re doing OK without it. Nice work.

    But seriously? Making the dough is easy, and tastes better (A+) AND you get bragging rights.

  • 39 S for Kitchen Confit // Jul 25, 2008 at 11:02 am

    All of these pizza’s look amazaing – one might be my dinner tonight!

  • 40 fluffernutter // Jul 25, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    That potato pizza is looking so good to this carb-free. Oh carbs,how do I love thee!

  • 41 Julie // Jul 27, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    I’m never that happy with the pizza I make at home but reading this makes me want to try again. Although not til at least October. The idea of an oven running at 500 degrees makes me hot just thinking about it.

  • 42 Lamberto // Aug 1, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Potato on pizza is an Italian classic (used mostly as a “breakfast on the go”) in Italy. But a pizzeria “Pizzeria Drago Verde” about 80 kilometers south of Rome takes this classic and adds truffle and speck (a spicy prosciutto) which stand up to the truffle a bit better than prosciutto. Also, they make a pizza with lard “Lardo di Colonnata” on oven roasted patatos… thin slices of lard laid on a freshly made pizza… the lard melts and …let me tell you…. Hugh! Lamberto

  • 43 Eric // Aug 8, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    I was referred to this blog by my friend Ann at Forest Street Kitchen and the first post I see is this incredible pizza (that rumbling you hear is my stomach). Potato pizza? Whoda thunkit-looks scrumptious. I’ll be back, Claudia-this is a great blog.

  • 44 Mari // Aug 13, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Well made pizza is my FAVORITE food, I’m talking of the last meal variety…

    How’s you stranger? It’s been awhile. Been enjoying the sunshine here in Grey Water Land, but now it’s gone.

  • 45 Mrs. L // Aug 23, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    All the pizzas look good but I have to admit, it’s the pancetta one that made me drool.

  • 46 marco // May 21, 2010 at 2:25 am

    i can teach u ho cook real pizza 😉

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