Party Pizzette: these wonderful handheld appetizers are served in Italy for aperitivo (cocktails and appetizers). New Year's Eve is upon us and if you are hosting a party these cute and absolutely delicious Party Pizzette will be the hit of the night! Happy New Year!
Song of the day: "Babylon" by David Gray.
Party Pizzette to me brings back so many memories of the numerous gatherings that our family would host. In the late 60's, early seventies, our lives were filled with socialization, wonderful family, and friends. I can't remember a weekend where we did not have a house full of people or that we were not invited to someone's house for a party. I loved it, well maybe not as a baby or toddler, but as I began to understand the whole cultural significance of socialization and gatherings and the fact that incredible food was always present at these gatherings, that fearful child became a social butterfly and that has stuck with me to this day.
[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop. We’ve been compensated but -as always- all opinions are our own.]
Pizza was always something that would be prepared for parties. I remember my parents having this huge plastic bowl and they would make pizza dough and let it rise. Well, it was incredible the way it ballooned out of the top of that bowl and I would get my hands into stretching that soft pliable dough. I remember its stretchy nature and I would work the dough to the edge of the pan and it would go back a bit, I would stretch it some more and it would retract a bit, but in the end, I won. It finally succumbed to my handwork and developed a nice border to hold all those lovely topping and sauce. My favorite topping was simple tomato sauce aromatized with basil and oregano, salt and olive oil, and thinly sliced homemade sausage and dollops of fresh mozzarella. I couldn't wait to get my hands on a piece and bite into that crispy airy crust and get my teeth into that wonderfully delicious sausage and cheese.
When I first went to Italy after I had met Nicoletta I had discovered this afternoon delight called aperitivo snacks and cocktails. To my pleasant surprise, no matter where we went, even in the shopping malls, coffee bars, road restaurants these little cute pizzas would be served along with many other things such as chips, olives, peanuts and tramezzini and of course some cocktail. I was more interested in the pizzette and just loved that they were easy to hold and more so, so easy to eat, not to mention absolutely delicious. So when we were thinking of recipes to develop for the Italian Centre Shop, Pizzette were at the forefront of many other ideas, and the fact that The Italian Centre Shop carries this incredible fresh pizza dough made in house makes this appetizer even more enticing.
We wanted to share some of the regular toppings for pizzette that you would find in Rome Italy, so we could share some of the experience with you and after all, who doesn't love pizzette, especially these cute little ones which look so inviting, don't you think!
This dough is so wonderful to work with, it has that softness and airiness that I so remember and my hands are ready to do stretch battle and rolling to get that dough to the thickness we want. As far as the sauce we have found this amazing product brand name Mutti. Their tomatoes are out of this world good, so intense in flavor and texture and their pizza sauce is delicious with hints of oregano and olive oil perfect to create the 5 different versions that we frequently enjoy in Rome! So for the 5 different pizzette we have: Margherita which has pizza sauce and mozzarella, we have another Rossa which is one of my favorites and I will tell you a bit of a story about this type of pizza which just has pizza sauce and oregano, the third and fourth are white pizzette, one with zucchini, and the other with thinly sliced potatoes tossed in olive oil and rosemary, the final one, tomato sauce, artichoke heart slices, olives and mozzarella.
Back to that pizza story I promised you. We were in a small town called San Donato and it was around 2 in the morning. We were with one of my cousins from Boston her name Floriana and she was showing us a great time in the town. She is quite well known and I was amazed at how many people were inviting her to their place, and that she knew almost the whole town. While Nicoletta, my son Joel, Floriana and myself were walking down this street we smelled this wonderful aroma of fresh bread and Floriana was quick to tell us about this bread bakery which we call panificio and she went right in and got us some pizza rossa and for my son and I a real treat having it folded in half and graced with a few slices of the freshest mortadella you can imagine. We walked and enjoyed that pizza so much, the sauce vibrant sweet and rich and the crust crispy edged and so so delicious. That memory I will remember forever we walked the night away until dawn! Oh, what a night!
Enough Chit-Chat We have guests coming, let's make Party Pizzette!
The first thing that needs to be done is to stretch out and work the dough to a nice thickness. We took it to about a ¼ inch. We used a cookie cutter to get the 2 ½ inch diameter rounds. Then we let them proof a bit or what we call the second rising. While the rounds are proofing it is a great time to get all the toppings ready. Grate zucchini nicely and thin and squeeze out excess juice. The potatoes follow next and are cut into thin rounds and they are tossed with some olive oil and dried rosemary, salt, and pepper. The artichoke hearts are the marinated ones and we sliced them into quarters letting the excess marinating liquid drip off. Olives, we bought Castlevetrano green olives, and Nicoletta sliced them into thin rounds. The mozzarella we grated and finally just added some extra olive oil to the pizza sauce, because it is the Italian thing to do, lol. So we are set and those pizzette look like they are ready to top. I wanted to mention that all the ingredients we got from The Italian Centre Shop. It is truly an Italian Cultural food experience and has such wonderful products, We really enjoy going there and walking the isles to see what we can find casually stopping at the deli counter for some meat and cheese samples, which you can find quite frequently gracing the top of the deli counter. Don't be shy, Mangia, Mangia! If you don't live in Edmonton or Calgary you can find these products at your local Italian store if you have one, if not, you are just going to have to buy a plane ticket and come visit The Italian Centre Shop personally. I think well worth the trip plus our city has so many attractions!
One thing I wanted to mention is that you want to create a pocket for the topping, and you do this by pressing your thumb into the center of the pizzette and creating an indentation. Don't these look so lovely. They are going to be even better when they hit a hot oven for a bit and that edge turns a light brown and crisps up a bit but not too much because we also want a bit of that airy inside with those air pockets.
I can't wait to munch on these, ARE THEY READY YET! lol.
Wow, Nicoletta and I are so happy with these Party Pizzette. They look so delicious and crispy, and look at that melted cheese, YUM! I love the variety of white and red, the colors of the artichoke and olive and the beautiful color on the edges of the pizzette. These are going to be perfect for our appetizer party and for New Year's Eve.
I forgot to mention that sometimes Nicoletta and I have appetizer dinners. It's a fun way to change things up and a great way to have variety without too much quantity and especially good with a nice chilled white wine, or beer, or a robust room temperature red wine.
I love the simplicity of the pizzette rossa the crust crispy on the edges and nice and soft in the middle folds and the way that sauce just add a punch of rich sweet tomato flavor. The Margherita is nice, adding that gooey cheese to the mix and its buttery richness just takes the pizzette to another level. The artichoke with its acidic marinade and rich earthy flavor marries well with the green olives and the cheese just soothes the acidity enough to balance the flavors yet tantalized the taste buds. Now, for Nicoletta's favorites, she loves the white pizzette especially the potato with that pizzazz from the rosemary and it melds nicely into the beautiful flavor of the crust. The zucchini, juicy, tender and sweet also a good companion to the crust and both of these have some nice bright notes from the Fleur de sel, and those glistening streams of olive oil.
New Year's is at the end of this week and if your planning a party these would be a perfect round to a night of cocktails, wine, great appetizers. Like they want to be Italian, be Italian and make these Party Pizzette!
P.S. This year New Year's Eve is a bit bitter-sweet, Nicoletta has gone to Rome to work for a bit and I will miss her terribly, but the memories in the pizzette and knowing it is one of her favorites to have, makes me feel closer to her. Some drown their sorrows in ice cream and chocolate, I will drown mine in Party Pizzette. Okay, and maybe some chocolate, as it is one of Nicoletta's other favorites.
Wonton, Bailey and I dedicate these Party Pizzette and post to you Amore!
We love you!
Nicoletta and I would also like to thank the people at The Italian Centre Shop for believing in us and giving us the opportunity to be creative with their products, and also to share our culture. Grazie Mille!
Happy New Year!
Song of the day: "Babylon" by David Gray.Print
Flour a work surface and begin to stretch and roll dough. Stretch it into a round until you get about a less than ¼ inch thickness. Dough will be an oval shape and about 12 inches at its largest part.
Take a 2 ½ inch cookie cutter and cut out rounds and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes. Do not place in a warm oven.
While pizzette are rising, wash and grate zucchini, and squeeze excess water out. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Peel and wash baby potatoes. Slice potatoes into thin rounds. Place in a bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper and some crushed dried rosemary. Toss well and set aside.
In a bowl pour in Mutti pizza sauce, drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil, stir and set aside.
Take baking sheets of pizzette and divide into as close as you can to 5 equal groups, then press thumb into the middle of the pizzette creating a little indentation.
For one group take potato rounds and place a few on the pizzette, drizzle with a touch of olive oil on top, a sprinkle of Fleur de Sel and rosemary.
Second group, place some grated zucchini on the pizzette, the grated mozzarella, a sprinkle of fleur de sel, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Third group, spoon some of the pizza sauce into the middle of the pizzette, spread it a bit with a teaspoon, leaving the border without sauce, top with some shredded mozzarella and a basil leaf. Finish with some olive oil on top.
Fourth group, spoon some of the pizza sauce into the middle of the pizzette. Place some shredded mozzarella and top with artichoke and green olives.
Fifth group, spoon some of the pizza sauce in the middle of the pizzette, spread it a bit with a teaspoon, leaving the border without sauce, sprinkle with dried oregano and a drizzle of olive oil.
Pre-heat oven to 425° F.
Place Pizzette onto middle rack bake for 5-10 minutes or until you see edges start to turn golden brown. Check on them, as your oven may bake differently. You don't want them too brown at the bottom.
If you want more sizzle, finish baking on broil for a couple minutes, continually checking to make sure they don't burn.
Take out of oven and place on a serving platter.
Ready to serve. Enjoy!
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Pizza
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Italian
[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop. We’ve been compensated but -as always- all opinions are our own.]
When I am not cooking, I enjoy playing musical instruments, singing, writing. I have learned over the years to live in gratitude and enjoy the moment.