We know how it usually goes. A bunch of friends get together to play game at someone’s house and end up gobbling pizza and snacks like there is no tomorrow. And that, my dear geek, is perfectly fine. I’m not going to tell you how unhealthy pizza is for your body because I don’t think it is. Neither will I advise you to start better and healthier eating habits on your game nights. You and your friends deserve a night off, a night without anything to fear or worry. So eat pizza, drink beer (a side note about beer on my previous post) and be well damn happy. That being said, I’m gonna do what I do best and tell you what you can do to make pizza&games night the greatest experience ever.
So it all starts with a little (tiny, minuscule) hard work and some attention to detail to give that extra something. If you are going to eat pizza, you are going to make pizza. Yep, that’s right, we’re gonna Martha Stewart this motherf***er. Before you close the tab on your web browser (don’t do it, please, pleeeease) and decide that you have better things to do than learn how to make pizza let me explain you what you are going to need: Some flour, some water, two hands and fifteen minutes of your time (plus whatever toppings you and your friends fancy). Yep, it’s that simple.
The thing about pizzas is that they are extremely easy to do, they don’t require being in the kitchen constantly to control their baking and they are 100% customizable. Plus, they are a low budget dinner plan (except if you fancy your pizzas with lobster and caviar, mmmm yummy) and can actually make them fast and easy. I’m going to give you the most basic recipe for making them, although I always recommend to explore that amazing world that google provides and search for other suggestions (start here).
You will need:
- 400gr of flour, although it depends on how thick you want the dough to be (this amount is for a pretty thick pizza).
- 200ml of water, a bit warm if possible, proportional to the amount of flour used.
- 1 tablespoon of yeast (omit if you prefer flatbread pizza)
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Salt and pepper, or other spices, be imaginative.
- Toppings (I usually go with tomato sauce, mozzarella, tuna, bacon, oregano and some homemade pesto)
Now, the proper way to do it depends on the amount of Italian friends you have. It can go from “Oh my God, you are an abomination” to “That’s pretty decent, but I can’t call it pizza”. I understand that, but you are not trying to win the keys to the city of Rome, you want to feed some hungry geeks, so do it in the easiest and most comfortable way you feel.
The method is simple. Find a big bowl (metal works best) and pour the flour inside. With your hands, shape it like the littlest cutest volcano ever and add the olive oil, the yeast (for a fluffier result), salt, pepper and the water. When pouring the water be exact on the amount you need, too much will require extra flour and too little will require another attempt (which could result in too much water). If you need to fix the amount of each too many times you might end up with enough dough to feed the city of Cleveland. When you have all the ingredients in the bowl, shake it a bit (carefully) to mix a little the ingredients. Now, the goal here is to make a pizza dough sphere, so put your hands on some water and then start mixing. It’s easy, you’ll see. After that let it rest for 30 minutes on a warm place (I usually leave it above the oven while it’s pre-heating) if you used yeast, if not it will only need 15 minutes.
Next step is simple, take the dough and make it flat, using a roller or stretching it with your hands, depending on the confidence you have in your cooking skills. Take the oven tray, put some greaseproof paper on it and then the dough. Heat it in the oven for five to ten minutes, depending on the thickness. For extra crunchiness, leave the tray on a lower position of the oven. Take it out, put on the toppings, back to the oven and you are set to go! Time and temperature depends of the kind of oven you are using, so keep an eye if it’s the first time and note the time and temperature you used for future references.
The thing about making your own pizza is that you can customize it in a hundred billion different ways, and I’m not talking only about ingredients. You are a Magic: The Gathering fan? Shape that pepperoni into a mountain land Mana. You are going to play some Arkham Horror? Let Cthulhu appear with some sautéed asparagus. Use your imagination, have fun, be geek.