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​Entertaining a crowd on The Big Game Sunday

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Pizza Bytes

The Big Game Sunday Patriots take on the Rams and parties are no exception. If you own a wood fired pizza oven, it is more than likely that you love to entertain. The goal (no pun intended) is do so for a large crowd, and not miss out on the game or the fun being with friends.

This can be accomplished by utilizing your  ilFornino oven to create a host of snacking foods that can be prepared ahead of time and kept warm until it’s time to enjoy the game and festivities.

I would like to share some ideas, which can help you towards that goal. These are by no means the only ideas that would work. Your favorite recipes and hors d’oeuvres that require some cooking or need to be served warm or hot are all candidates for your oven. What we are also taking advantage of is the vast amount of cubic footage available for the crowd at hand. Utilizing various sizes of aluminum pans and trays, allows you to stack many dishes and greatly expands the limited capacity of your home oven.

The Menu:

Choose a workable menu. That is to say, prepare foods that you know your guests will enjoy.

  • Pizza Ravioli or Mini-Calzones: 

Using pizza dough and finely chopped up pizza toppings. The shapes can vary from rounds to squares and anything in between. You can include sauce or have a dipping sauce served on the side. You can do them individually, by rolling out a rectangular sheet, and piping the ingredients from a zip-lock bag with a corner cut out. Fold over and seal in-between each dollop of ingredients. I like to utilize one of these home ravioli makers.

Pizza Bytes Equipment

Two sheets of dough slightly larger than the device are used to create the ravioli. Place one on the serrated part, and use the template to make slight depressions. Remove the template: pipe in the filling and cover with the second sheet of dough. Using a rolling pin, press hard on the top layer unit the ridges allow you to separate the excess dough. (You can recover that excess and reuse toward the next batch.) Invert the raviolis on a sheet pan and bake in your wood fired oven. Break apart the individual raviolis and store in an aluminum tray. Note: you can freeze these for later use, as well.

If you do this earlier in the day, by the time the party starts, your oven will be at the proper keep warm temperature.

Pizza Bytes

  • Crudités:

If you are serving Crudités, then you might consider our  roasted pepper recipe. Do so ahead of time and allow cooling. Add to the other veggies to provide a unique taste and texture to your plate.


  • Jalapeño Poppers: 

There are a huge variety of Jalapeño recipes available out there. What is important to keep in mind, wood fired ones is just that much better. You better have a lot of beer on hand to put out the fire. I use this device to aid in the process.

Jalapeno Equipment

Jalapeno Poppers

  • Blanket Coverage:

No, I don’t mean a football defensive maneuver. I am suggesting that you use your pizza dough to make things in a blanket, such as HOT-DOG bites. You can shape them as mini footballs. You can also use peeled garlic shrimp that are precooked in a cast iron pan in the oven, and wrapped in dough and finished in the oven. Serve along with pizza sauce, cocktail sauce or home made tarter sauce. Watch them fly off the plate.

  • Chili:

Don’t forget the mandatory Chili. Prepare your favorite chili recipe in a large cast iron pot. It’s always a crowd pleaser.

  • Cheesy Nachos: 

Use your Pizza Pie pans to assemble large platters of cheese nachos. Upfront, you know the pan fits in the oven, so why not use it.

Cheesy Nachos

I hope these ideas are a basis for a stress-less and successful Big Game Party! 

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