Dinner for 12? . . . No Problem!!

Fingerling Potato and Feta Cheese PizzaWhen you have great help, great friends and a great pizza sauce recipe . . . No Problem!!

A few years ago my friend AJ and I were sharing a one pot meal at her house lamenting about how hard it was to gather the ‘Usual Suspects’ for dinner. Scheduling of our busy lives seemed to make it impractical for us to gather on an irregular basis. So, The Second Sunday Supper Set was born. Each month, on the second Sunday, a different friend would host a gathering and the rules are simple: There are no rules. The entire event was up to the host. It could be a formal sit down dinner, a pleasant day picnicking in the park, a potluck meal or anything in between. I must say, it has been a raving success. Since we started, we’ve added a few couples to the group and now we sit at 12 as a regular number and having a set schedule made it easy for everyone to plan ahead. So, if you find yourself not seeing your friends as often as you like then I invite you to join us with your own dinner . . . every Second Sunday works for me.

But! To the meal!

April is my month to host and I was happy to do it. Pizza has been on my mind and ever since Suzanne and I worked out the pizza sauce recipe I have been dying to share it with my friends. We shared 4 different pizzas this go round: Chicken Pesto, Fingerling Potatoes and Feta Cheese, Pizza Margarita and Fennel Sausage with Mushrooms. I don’t know what it is about pizza that makes you keep coming back for more; but the trail is worn between the dinner table and my kitchen counter where fresh, hot pizzas made their Sunday night debut. A happy crowd with some of the liveliest conversation I have ever heard. I was pleased my guests stuck around

Pizza Pizza!!

My friend Suzanne, of Cooking by the Bay, and I spent the weekend working a new pizza dough recipe. That’s all fine and good but eating plain, old pizza dough is kind of boring in my opinion. So, we worked up toppings from the leftovers in my fridge. Now the week prior my friend Tish, of Sun and Water Farms, dropped off a mess of potatoes, onions, carrots and bell peppers she had left over from a catering event. While I made use of the potatoes by slicing and baking them in butter, it was the peppers and onions that fell prey to my knife and died a slow and glorious death caramelizing in the pan.

A bit of spicy chicken sausage and you would think we had a complete pizza but, there has always been one thing about pizzas that has eluded me since . . . well . . . birth. What makes a good pizza sauce? It is tomato of course but what else? Suzanne and I decided to start out simply and Thank You, Thank You we needn’t go any further. Our sauce was just a combination of pureed canned tomatoes (Hey, they were on my shelf), tomato paste, salt, pepper, garlic and some freshly ground chili flakes; add heat for 5 minutes and we’re done.

This pizza was so good we made two in one day and I made another last night.

Cheers,    tj


Pizza (by layers)

Pizza dough,     rolled thin
Olive oil,     extra virgin (for the taste)
Tomato sauce   thin
Mozzarella     fresh, grated
Peppers & Onions   caramelized
Sausage     spicy chicken is good
Mozzarella     more of the same

On a pizza stone in a hot oven, 450 degrees F, until brown around the edges

Cool it, slice it and stick it in your head.