For some people “date night” means getting all dressed up for dinner and maybe a play or a movie.  For others, it means going down to their local for a meal and a couple of drinks.  For those still in their 20s, it might mean going to a couple of clubs.

For me and the mister, we have a 7-year tradition of making our own pizza, renting a movie and avoiding the madding crowd.  Better than anything you can get from delivery, making your own pizza is also a lot more fun – you get to decide how much sauce, cheese and other toppings you want.  You get to roll your own dough (or toss it, if you’re brave).  You can decide how thick or thin a crust you want.  And there’s nothing like hanging out together in the kitchen — even when that means working around a dog at your feet (waiting ever-so-hopefully for you to drop something, preferably the Parma ham).  It may sound boring, but after a long week of working late and classes, for us, it’s a perfect night in!

Honey Wheat Pizza Crust

  • 175 g whole wheat or whole grain bread flour
  • 500 g white bread flour
  • 10 g instant yeast
  • 10 g salt
  • healthy pinch Herbes de Provence
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups bottled water (heated to be warm to the touch, but not hot)

Toss the dry ingredients together in a bowl to combine.  In a microwavable measuring cup, heat the honey, olive oil and water together until warm to the touch and pour into the dry ingredients, mixing as you go.  Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes, until it passes a windowpane test, then put into an oiled bowl, rolling the dough in the oil to cover, then cover with plastic wrap and let rise 90 minutes to 2 hours until doubled.

While that’s working, you can make the sauces and get your toppings together.

The Mister’s Pizza Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper

In a small pan over medium heat, heat the pepper flakes in the olive oil until hot, add the garlic and saute until fragrant (about 30 seconds), add the tomatoes and tomato paste and mix well.  Reduce the heat to low, add the oregano and season to taste.  Simmer until thick, about 30-45 minutes.

Red’s Roasted Eggplant Pizza Sauce

  • Garlic-infused olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 eggplant, halved lengthwise
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper

Heat oven to 400.  Line a baking sheet with foil, drizzle the foil with garlic-infused oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Place the halved eggplant sliced-side down onto the oil and bake for 40 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a small pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and saute the garlic until fragrant.  Add the tomatoes, oregano and season.  Simmer 30 minutes. 

Scrape the roasted eggplant out of its skin into a blender, add tomato sauce and puree until smooth.

When you’ve chopped all your favorite toppings, your sauce is cooled and your dough has doubled, get ready for assembly! 

Preheat your oven as hot as it will go.  Separate out the dough into 2 pizzas (large) or 4 pizzas (small), roll or press your base out onto a baking sheet, top and bake for 10-15 minutes.

A few of our favorite toppings!