For this year's celebration, I'm going to take it nice and easy on New Year's Eve. I'm only going to have few good friends over to bring in the New Year. For food, I'm going to have a pizza party, and everyone can make their own pie. It's simple, fun and creative!
You can either make your own pizza dough or buy it already made at your market. I go to my local pizza parlor and ask them for fresh pizza dough. One roll of pizza dough can typically be cut and shaped into four small balls to make four 9- to 10-inch pizzas, so make or order your dough accordingly. (I usually count two pizzas per person.)
Make sure to preheat your oven to 500 degrees and use a pizza stone if you can—sprinkle it with cornmeal before you place the pizza (complete with toppings) in the oven to avoid the dough from sticking. The pizzas usually take 12 to 15 minutes at that temperature to bake. Keep an eye out so you don't burn the crust.
For added flavor to the crust, I roll in fresh herbs such as chopped basil, oregano, rosemary or thyme. After I roll it out, I pour olive oil over the top, add kosher salt and cracked pepper, bake it and eat it warm right out of the oven with a squeeze of lemon juice. So good!
Go to town on the toppings! Here are some suggestions, and you can eyeball how much you want or don't want on your individual pizza.
Use your imagination as far as toppings are concerned and put things on the table in any order, then watch people go to town. No topping is too crazy! It's fun to watch what everyone comes up with.
Everything can be made and chopped in advance and placed in plastic bags in the refrigerator the day of your party to save space and time. Even the pizza dough can be made the day before and kept wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator overnight.
I don't like to use too many bowls because of the cleanup afterward, so when it comes time to make the pizzas, I take two huge platters and take out the toppings and arrange them on that. Cold champagne goes perfectly with our pizzas, but I also like beer!
Happy New Year!
My new show, Cristina Ferrare's Big Bowl of Love, debuts on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network January 3 at 3:30 p.m. Watch a sneak peek.