Easy Summer Party: Grilled Pizza Bar

Par-grill pizza shells days in advance to host an easy, interactive summer gathering that you can actually enjoy.
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Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Easy as Pizza Pie

Summer entertaining can be light and breezy — or you can end up hosting a multicourse event that has you wishing you were just lounging alone in your backyard. Keep things nice and easy by forming a game plan and prepping ahead of guests' arrival. This grilled pizza bar is the perfect solution: The pizza shells can be partially grilled and then frozen, and the three sauces can be thrown together the night before. Invite guests to top their own pizzas with a variety of produce, meats, cheeses and sauces, and then finish their creations on the grill. This way, you can spend more time mingling in the sunshine, and less time trapped in the kitchen.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Pizza for a Crowd

Break Out of Your Shell

After mixing, kneading and punching down homemade pizza dough, grill the oiled, salted rounds just until the dough starts to bubble up. Wrap the underbaked shells tightly in plastic and refrigerate for up to two days. (See recipe for freezing method.) Seeking a shortcut? Visit your local pizza shop and ask if they'll let you buy some of their pizza dough.

Secret Sauces

To make these pizzas feel really fresh and unique, offer guests three homemade sauces (no jarred stuff here) to line their creations. The Arugula-Pistachio Pesto (left) is nutty and salty, but less sweet than traditional pesto, which allows it to be paired with any variety of meats or cheeses. The Ricotta Spread (middle) gains salty, savory depth from Parmesan and garlic. And a classic Red Sauce turns canned tomato sauce into a vibrant, herby spread.

Deli Counter

After guests have covered their pizza shells with sauce, invite them to select from an assortment of toppings, starting with cheeses and meats.

Pick Your Produce

We suggest choosing about five or six vegetables from our recipe (or your imagination — get creative!) and setting them out in bowls. Choose a variety of textures, colors and flavors so guests can mix and match as they please.

The Heat Is On

After the sauces, cheeses, meat and veggies have been added, instruct guests to queue up by the grill. Cover the grill and cook the pies until the bottoms are slightly charred, the cheese has melted and the toppings are cooked through.

The Finishing Touch

Set an assortment of "finishings" at the end of your bar so that guests know to use them after the pizzas have been grilled. Oils, sauces, salts, herbs and seeds will add flavor and color to the finished pies.

Pie of My Eye

Set out a large cutting board with a pizza cutter or knife. Guests can either slice and share their creations or enjoy their personal pies.