5 Ways to Celebrate National Pizza Day
Make your own National Pizza Day celebration. Have you ever wondered how many pizzas are sold in the US each year? It's a lot. More than 3 billion, in fact, and that's not even including frozen pizzas (another billion)....
Have you ever wondered how many pizzas are sold in the US each year? It's a lot. More than 3 billion, in fact, and that's not even including frozen pizzas (another billion). Clearly, Americans love pizza. We love it so much that there is a National Pizza Day to celebrate it, February 9th. If you share this love of pizza, why not celebrate pizza's big day by making your own pizza from scratch? Here's how:
1. Start by making your own crust. It's easier than you think. Just sprinkle one packet of active dry yeast into 1 ½ cups of warm water. Add a teaspoon of sugar and stir. Let sit until the mixture is foamy on top, about 10 minutes. Stir in 3 ½ cups bread flour (you can substitute all-purpose flour if necessary), 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir until it comes together in a ball (a stand mixer works great for this). The dough should be tacky but not sticky. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time if it is too sticky. Knead it for a few minutes until it is smooth, form it into a ball, and place it into a large, oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 hour, until it has doubled in size. Shape, top, and bake at in a 475º oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
2. While the dough is rising, make your own pizza sauce. This no-cook version from thekitchn.com is quick and easy (you don't even need to cook it!): In a blender or food processor, combine 1 32-ounce can of tomatoes (whole or diced, drained), 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, and 4 cloves of garlic. Process until smooth, then add salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste.
3. Make one or two family sized pizzas, or divide the dough into smaller portions and let everyone make their own. Set out an assortment of toppings so everyone can create their own combinations. Pepperoni is the most popular pizza topping in the US, so you'll want to make sure to have some on hand, as well as plenty of grated cheese. Other popular toppings include olives, mushrooms, Italian sausage, bell peppers, anchovies, and fresh herbs like basil or thyme.
4. Add some non-traditional toppings to shake things up: Crack a fresh egg over the pizza before cooking, use goat cheese or gorgonzola in place of the traditional mozzarella, or top your pizza with thinly sliced potatoes, blanched and thinly sliced Meyer lemons, caramelized onions, pears, or roasted winter squash, cauliflower, or garlic.
While you and your dining companions honor the delectable pie, you can wow them with your pizza knowledge. Did you know that the very first pizzeria was a place called Antica Pizzeria in Naples, Italy, which opened in 1738? O that the first pizzeria in the US was New York City's Gennaro Lombardi, opened in 1895? Today 17 percent of the restaurants in the US are pizzerias. How else would each of us consume an average of 23 pounds of pizza each year?
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