During the walking tour around your house, place a few appetizers on side tables for nibbling while you discuss your artwork. After they have seen all of your gorgeous furniture and inspiring paint jobs, invite everyone into your largest room for a few rounds of your favorite game. Serve 2 types of crispy pizza - make several of each kind and cook throughout the evening - a white carbonara and a vegetarian eggplant are tasty treats perfect for munching while you play. Add a sweet finish to the evening by offering guest brownies decorated to look like dominos. The pizzas can be assembled in advance and baked later making them an ideal entertaining recipe. To see how simple it is,
Cornmeal, for sprinkling
1 pound pizza dough, at room temperature
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1/4 pound pancetta, chopped
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
2 large egg yolks, beaten
1 clove garlic, grated
1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded provolone cheese
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Preheat the oven to 450°.
- Sprinkle a little cornmeal on a pizza pan or baking sheet. Place the pizza dough on the pan and stretch into a large round or rectangle. Drizzle the dough with olive oil and partially bake until puffed and golden, about 8 minutes.
- In a small skillet, heat a drizzle of the oil over medium heat.
- Add the pancetta and cook, stirring often, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
- Add the ricotta, pecorino romano, egg yolks and garlic to the pancetta; season with pepper and stir to combine.
- Spread the ricotta mixture over the partially baked pizza dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Top with the provolone.
- Bake until the crust and topping are golden and cooked through, about 12 minutes. Scatter the parsley on top and cut into wedges.
1 (1 1/2-lb) eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
2 garlic cloves
10 oz grape tomatoes (2 cups), quartered
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing dough
1 lb pizza dough
Flour for dredging
1/4 lb Italian Fontina, rind discarded and cheese cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
- Prepare pizza toppings: sprinkle eggplant with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a colander and let drain in sink, turning slices occasionally, 30 minutes.
- Finely chop together basil, mint, and garlic. Toss with tomatoes in a bowl, then drain in a sieve set over bowl.
- Preheat broiler.
- Rinse eggplant, then pat dry in batches between paper towels, pressing firmly to remove excess liquid. Brush both sides of slices with oil (about 4 tablespoons total) and form small stacks, then cut stacks into quarters. Arrange eggplant pieces in 1 layer in 2 shallow heavy baking pans and broil, 1 pan at a time, about 5 to 6 inches from heat, turning eggplant over once, until golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes per batch. Cool eggplant to room temperature.
- Put pizza stone* in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 500°F (allow 1 hour for pizza stone to heat).
- Assemble pizzas: do not punch down dough. Gently dredge 1 piece of dough in flour to coat, then transfer to a sheet of parchment paper set on baking peel or baking sheet. Holding 1 edge of floured dough in the air with both hands and letting bottom touch parchment, carefully move hands around edge of dough (like turning a steering wheel), allowing weight of dough to stretch it to a round roughly 10 inches in diameter. Lay round on parchment and adjust shape as needed.
- Discard any liquid exuded from tomatoes and toss tomatoes with remaining tablespoon oil and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in bowl.
- Brush dough round with oil and scatter half of eggplant, half of tomatoes, and half of cheese over it, leaving a 1-inch border around edge. Line up far edge of peel with far edge of pizza stone and tilt peel down, jerking it gently to start pizza moving. Slide pizza, along with parchment, onto stone and bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbling, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Remove pizza from oven by sliding peel under paper. Transfer pizza to a cutting board and discard parchment.
- While first pizza is baking, assemble second pizza on another sheet of parchment, then bake in same manner.
Makes 2 pizzas.
*Note: If you do not have a pizza stone use a warmed baking sheet.
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 oz. (4 squares) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped and melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
White chocolate chips and white frosting in tube for decoration
- Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13" x 9" baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In large bowl beat butter and sugar together with electric mixer.
- Stir in melted chocolate; beat in eggs until well combined, then stir in flour and salt. Add vanilla.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 min.
- Cut into rectangles measuring about 3" long by 1" wide. Place on wire rack to cool.
- Add frosting lines, top with white chocolate chips to resemble domino patterns.
Note: For a hassle free no time recipe simple halve bakery brownies and decorate with white frosting from a tube and white chocolate chips to resemble dominos. Or serve store-bought checkerboard cookies or Pepperidge Farm's classic Chessman cookies.