Food52's Managing Editor Brette Warshaw is throwing no-stress weeknight parties for anyone, anytime, and (almost) every kitchen. You're invited.

Today: Brette conquers her fear of yeast, and puts together a plan for a weeknight pizza fest.

Pizza from Food52

Shop the Story

For those who make pizza reguarly -- who always happen to have dough in some state of readiness, who can stretch and top and flip with the grace of a Benihana chef -- pizza is the weeknight savior. And so the fact that I've neglected to throw a pizza party after a year and a half of Monday night dinner parties seems, well, amateur. Inexperienced. Irresponsible. 

And when it comes to yeasted things, I am all of those things. We all have our kitchen fears, and doughs -- stretchy, springy doughs, things that bubble and burp and are very much alive -- are mine. 

If you're like me -- and even if you're one of those weeknight pizza people -- just turn to Jim Lahey. He gives you a dough that's easier to make than a batch of cookies, one that can turn into dinner with a few stirs and folds and a bit of cheese. You'll make it all a few days ahead, forget about it, and then somehow pull off a party that feels way too fun for a weeknight.

The Menu

Kale and Anchovy Salad
Margherita Pizza (with whatever toppings you'd like)
Sugar Snap Peas with Lemon-Chili Breadcrumbs
Rhubarb Almond Crumb Cake

The Plan

Up to five days in advance: Make your breadcrumbs for your snap peas. Store them in an airtight container. Make the tomato sauce for your pizza. 

Two nights before the party: Make your no-knead dough; it'll take 2 minutes. Stick it in the corner of your kitchen. 

Pizza dough from Food52

The night before: Shape your pizza dough into four equal mounds. Wrap each in plastic wrap, and stick them in the fridge. Make the dressing for your Kale and Kale and Anchovy Salad, and bake your Rhubarb Almond Crumb Cake.  

Kale salad from Food52 

When you get home from work: Toast your breadcrumbs with the garlic, chili, and lemon; set aside. They will go in with the snap peas once they're cooked. Take your dough balls out of the fridge; you want them to be at room temperature when you go to shape them. 

When it's almost dinner time: Enlist a friend to dress the Kale and Anchovy Salad; it'll need to sit for around 15 minutes. Start shaping your pizzas -- see here for step-by-step directions. Cook your snap peas just until they're bright green -- about 2 to 3 minutes. Toss with your breadcrumbs. Pour them into a bowl.  

Snap peas from Food52

Dinner time! Gather your friends at the table, and feed them salad while your pizzas cook. Bring each out to the table with a flourish, and watch them get devoured. Serve with the breadcrumby snap peas.

When all the pizza is gone: Serve your crumb cake, and send the leftovers home with your guests; it makes a noble breakfast.

Rhubarb crumb cake from Food52

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • donantonio123
  • Mr_Vittles
  • Liz B. @ UMAMI LIFE
    Liz B. @ UMAMI LIFE
  • Allyn
  • Marian Bull
    Marian Bull
Brette Warshaw

Written by: Brette Warshaw

I'm a reader, eater, culinary thrill-seeker, and food nerd.


donantonio123 October 13, 2020
Its very delicious,
Everybody loves Italian food!
Mr_Vittles May 28, 2014
I am a big proponent of high hydration, slow risen doughs. The ARTISAN BREAD IN 5 MINUTES A DAY cookbook is a revelation. The quality of doughs you can produce as well as varied breads is staggering. Pizza, Cinnamon Rolls, Country loaf, and Baguettes. All the work is practically done in the dough's slow rise. Handling and baking technique is all the cook has to worry about. I would highly recommend you check it out, if you're really serious about conquering your fear of yeast raised bread.
Liz B. May 26, 2014
I just did a brick oven pizza night with the fam! It's on my most recent blog post. Seriously once you go brick oven you can't go back! - a clean eating bento blog. Japanese or Asian-inspired.
Allyn May 26, 2014
Yeast is totally my fear too! One of my goals for this summer is to conquer it, and to that end I actually started a pizza dough last night.
Hoping that it turns out well enough tonight to give me a little more confidence.
Marian B. May 26, 2014
three cheers for yeasted things that are not scary.