We all know the saying “The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. This can also be a fairly speedy route to the female heart as well. Staying in and making your date dinner (or making it together) rates high on the romance scale. You get to show off your creativity and appreciation for nuance and details, even if it’s a simple dish. It’s no different from putting an outfit together. That’s what this series is all about. She or he will be left impressed, and you won’t need the skills of Wolfgang Puck.
- Familiar Ingredients: pizza dough, olive oil, rosemary, mozzarella, red potato, red onion, carrots, garlic
- Not So Familiar Ingredients: butternut squash (if you’re not used to cooking it), part-skim ricotta cheese
- Number of Pans/Pots you’ll need to make this dish: large baking sheet or stone for the pizza, large rimmed baking sheet for the veggies (2 if you want extra vegetables), a clean counter to roll out the pizza dough (yes, you’ll need a rolling pin), parchment paper to bake the pizza on if you want cleanup to be a lot easier.
God bless Martha. I’ve heard tales that she can be ruthless, but man, can she crank out some good recipes. Or more appropriately, her minions can. But still, she’s pretty incredible when it comes to all thinks cooking, and this pizza recipe is proof of that. It’s a perfect cold weather meal that smells incredible cooking and looks incredible when it’s done. If the thought of pizza without meat makes you break out into a sweat, you can certainly add some to the pizza, but make sure the flavor of the meat is appropriate to the flavor profile of the pizza. Don’t put pepperoni on this pizza. Martha would probably hunt you down and smack you. Or shank you (she’s an ex-con). Sausage would work much better, and if you want to keep it on the lighter side try chicken sausage with apple.
Click on the picture for the recipe
This recipe in it’s entirety can take quite a while to make, so I’d give yourself the time to at least get the veggies roasted up prior to your date arriving. If you want to have the process almost completely done, have the pizza built and ready to put in the oven around the time your date is due. If you want to impress though, after getting your date settled with a drink, slap that dough down on a floured counter and start rolling it out. Show those domestic skills. Here are a few notes about preparing the pizza.
Dough – As the base of your pizza, make sure you go with a good dough. Have a favorite pizzeria in town? See if they sell their fresh dough. I have a pizza place near my house that sells a pound of fresh dough for two bucks. Of course, you can make your own dough, but if you haven’t ever done it before, either practice before you are making this for a date, or try it another time. It’s not too hard, but is very messy, and might not be worth the stress it could potentially cause if you’re up to your elbows in flour and dough when your date arrives. Be available to pour your date a drink.
Vegetables - The recipe calls for half of the Roasted Fall Vegetables recipe from Martha. If you don’t think you’ll eat the other half of the vegetables, just cut the recipe down by, you guessed it, half. If you’re oven heats up more than usual, I might recommend adding the garlic halfway through the roasting process. On the pan the entire time they might get roasted into little chunks of charcoal (this tends to happen in my oven that resides in a very dry, higher elevation climate). Butternut squash can be a pain to prep if you don’t know how. Here’s a video to help you out. If your date’s a girl, consider chopping the veggies into slightly smaller chunks (maybe 1 inch, rather than 1.5). Most girls can be self-conscience while eating. It’s easier to take smaller bites if the chunks are smaller. If your date is a guy, leave the veggie chunks large. This really makes the pizza look hearty, burly. Like man pizza. Y’know, with… squash on it.
Salt & Pepper – Don’t overdo it on the salt and pepper. You can add more once you dish up, but you can’t take it away if you’ve put too much on. You’ll already have salt in the dough, cheese, and on the roasted vegetables, so take it easy cracking sea salt over the top of the pizza before you bake it.
Final Note: This dish is hearty enough to stand up to a fuller bodied red wine, like cabernet sauvignon, or darker beer.
Sarah is a self proclaimed foodie and regular contributor to fullclutch.com. She may have a slight vendetta against Martha due to the fact that her husband thinks she’s “hot” for an older woman. Whatever. For more MIFYD posts, click here.