I don’t know about you, but all this talk about building a wall makes me want to build something, just something a lot more fun. How about a pizza instead?

Let’s start with the basics. Building a pizza takes a strong, natural ingredient foundation. There are just four components; unbleached/unbromated flour, yeast, salt, and water. A locally made, hand-crafted, wood-grilled foundation that can safely hold all of your toppings in place on a thin, crispy shell. Are you actually capable of building that foundation on your own? Perhaps. Do you have to? Absolutely not.

When I first moved back to Rhode Island my good friend Jean Marie raved about Pizza Gourmet. We would order pizza from their adorable shop on Hope Street. A few months later I realized that my cousin, Robbie Spardello (who is an amazing chef) is the Director of Operations for the company. Jack, Mike, and Marci Parente run their family organization which started in 2010, right here in RI and currently employee 32 people.

If you’re like me and feel it’s important to support local business, especially a business that gives back to their community, Pizza Gourmet is a company you would be proud to support! Please check them out at woodgrilledpizzacrusts.com where you can read about their products and order online.

The Pizza Gourmet’s wood-grilled all natural pizza crusts are the easiest, yummiest and all around best foundations for building a pizza! Easy because you can find them at many local markets and even easier because you can order online and enjoy free shipping. Crazy easy because you don’t need any special equipment because the crust cooks directly on your oven rack.

For me, pizza is my go-to dinner when I’ve had a busy day, when I’m too lazy to cook or when it’s just too cold to go out. I always have Pizza Gourmet crusts in my freezer – it’s a no-brainer! Just brush the crust with olive oil and get started.

A fun part of building a pizza is that you can easily recruit your base to help. Even small kids can help make their own, especially if you prepare your toppings in advance. If you’re having people over to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, having your guests gather in the kitchen to create pizzas can be a fun way to start the evening.

For my family, the pizza I like most is what I call “les restes”. Sounds fancy, right? While the name might be fancy and French, it’s really just my name for pizza topped with leftovers!

Here’s an example of a sweet and savory “les restes” pizza. I start by grating some sharp cheddar cheese over the crust. I always start with cheese, because once it starts melting it holds your toppings in place. I add leftover chicken that I have sliced/shredded, pieces of roasted butternut squash, sliced asparagus, baby spinach and dollops of onion compote (a recipe for next time). For the pizza shown, I also added figs and of course, more cheese!

Another family favorite is built with fresh tomatoes, pepperoni, olives and zucchini topped with lots of mozzarella cheese.

Being creative with leftovers or using items from your pantry and refrigerator, I guarantee your results will still be yummy.

Bringing friends and family together over great food is, in my opinion, one of the greatest things in life. Being together in the kitchen, exchanging ideas and understanding what is truly important, like pizza can only make this world a better place.

If you build a pizza using a Pizza Gourmet crust and would like to win a 6-pack of crust, please send your photos to me at Karen.kampkaren@gmail.com . The winner will be selected on February 10th!

Be sure to try this with The Haute Life Wine Wednesday recommendation.

Karen Sagaspe is a Rhode Island native who enjoys food, wine, entertaining and travel. Cooking for friends and family is one of her favorite things to do. She has traveled extensively, lived in Florida, Paris, France and Cape Town, South Africa. When she isn’t in the kitchen, Karen is probably reading a book surrounded by her two Shih Tzu.