When you think of romantic foods, you probably don’t think about pizza. Let’s be honest – you’re more likely to think of pizza as the kind of food you eat with friends or on a Friday night when you don’t feel like cooking for the kids. But pizza can be quite the sensuous meal when you make it from scratch and take the time to work with your significant other to make it together.
In fact, if you’re ever in any doubt as to the romantic potential of pizza, let me relay you a story. Six and a half years ago, as I was sporting a giant pregnant belly and feeling rather lacking in confidence about my appeal, I sat in the living room with my then-boyfriend, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and eating slice after slice of Dominoes Pizza. At some point, I looked over at this man beside me and realized how lucky I was to have the perfect partner in pizza eating and all else. He caught me gazing at him and asked what was on my mind. It was at that moment that I realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. So I asked him to marry me. And he said yes!
The rest is history. Many years of marriage and three kids together, and I still feel like the luckiest lady in the world to have the perfect partner in pizza.
So for me, this simple, rustic meal is pretty much perfect, as it is something we both dearly love, and it is an easy way to let him know I’m thinking of him and still love him with all my heart. Plus – as I mentioned – when we make it together, it becomes an entire date night!
My favorite part is making the easy crust.
Here’s what you’ll need:
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/3 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tsp olive oil
Combine warm water, sugar and yeast in a bowl, stir, and let sit for 5-7 minutes. Then, stir in the olive oil. In a large bowl, combine your flour and salt. Slowly pour in yeast mixture, stirring to form rough dough.
Grab and knead for a few minutes. I love doing this with my husband. It gives me vibes of the movie Ghost, with me as Demi Moore and him as Patrick Swayze, standing behind me and intertwining fingers together and we shape the dough into a usable mound. Ahem.
Brush with olive oil, cover and let sit for an hour until size almost doubles.
The sauce is another fun aspect of this. Obviously you can create a pizza to your own tastes, but I love a good tomato sauce, and this homemade marinara gives us each something to do. With the chopping and mincing and stirring and tasting, it’s another hit on the romance front.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 can diced tomatoes, sauce in
6oz tomato paste
1 small bunch (½ – 1 handful) fresh parsley
1 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Pepper, oregano, and other spices to your preference.
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until evenly mixed/blended and smooth.
Roll out your dough onto a baking sheet or pizza stone. Don’t worry about creating a heart-shape now. Just roll it into a large circle. Spread your sauce over it in a heart-shape, as this will give you a guide to cut the dough later.
Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese on top of your heart shape, and add any other toppings you wish for. I keep it simple with a four-cheese Italian blend, but you could add meats, cheeses, fruits or anything else.
With a pizza or pastry cutter, cut a heart shape around your sauce/toppings, making sure to leave at least an inch of extra crust around all edges.
Bake at 400 for 10-20 minutes, depending on thickness. *Start checking at 10 minutes, and you will know pizza is ready when you can easily lift up the bottom without sticking.
How cute is that? The crust will turn out just the right amount of chewy and delicious. I like to brush on some melted butter at the end, or even some garlic butter all around the crust, as it gives it an extra depth of flavor.
Cut it into a grid for the best distribution of slices.
I love to lay out a cute tablecloth, light a candle and put on a little mood music to set the scene, and our rustic pizza becomes a real gourmet meal for us.
Now, how about that!? A perfectly delicious and simple meal for two that has all the romance you could ask for. It’s a great one for Valentine’s Day, an anniversary or any date night. It’s even better because you can wait until the kids go to bed before starting, and then you don’t have to pay a babysitter. Just go throw on some old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and you’re off!