With Valentine’s Day approaching, your first instinct might be to scope out a reservation for a romantic sushi dinner at OKU or wine and dine your date at a pretentious steakhouse. Let’s be realistic here, Santa Barbara menu prices have been out of control lately, even if you and your Valentine end up splitting the bill. Might I offer up another suggestion: Treating your Valentine to a meal made with love for only about $10!
I discovered last year that Woodstock’s Pizza will sell you plain pizza dough in any size, either prerolled or in a ball, for just $2. This discovery truly changed my life. With a little help from your local pizza place, a few ingredients that can be found at any grocery store and approximately five minutes of prep time, you can create an adorable, heart-shaped pizza to enjoy with a date or share with your Galentines.
Yield: 1 medium pizza (approximately 4 slices)
Time: 20 minutes
- 1 Woodstock’s medium pizza dough ball, prerolled
- ½ jar pizza sauce
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese (dairy-free works well, I recommend Violife Just Like Mozzarella Shreds)
- Toppings of choice (I typically opt for sliced bell peppers, sliced mushrooms, marinated artichokes and olives, but heart-shaped pepperoni would be a cute addition if you’re willing to go the extra mile)
- Optional: chopped fresh basil and red pepper flakes to top the pizza once it’s done baking
- Find a time to pick up said pizza dough. I advise stopping by Woodstock’s any time before the evening drunchies crowd rolls in, or else you might be waiting a while for your dough.
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- Grab a cutting board and cover it in a thin layer of flour. Unroll the pizza dough, flatten and shape into a heart. It might look more blob shaped than heart shaped, but that’s okay. Transfer the dough to a lined baking sheet.
- Carefully fold in the outer edges to make a two to three-inch crust.
- Prepare any toppings. Thinly slice bell peppers, mushrooms and any other vegetables of your choosing.
- Assemble the pizza by adding a layer of pizza sauce first. Spread the sauce around the pizza using a spoon. Next, add a generous amount of cheese. Finally, distribute your toppings evenly. Feel free to get creative with your toppings design — perhaps spelling out a heartfelt message for your Valentine if you really want to win them over.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
- Let cool for at least 10 minutes before eating. Top the pizza with thinly sliced fresh basil and red pepper flakes.
- Slice the pizza and enjoy! I don’t know if there’s a proper way to cut this irregularly shaped pizza, but I’ll let you get creative with this step.
Since you’re hosting this Valentine’s Day dinner at home, presentation is everything. Pair your pizza with a drink of choice. You can never go wrong with the classic pizza and beer, or pizza and wine combination, although I’ll use the holiday as an excuse to pair mine with a case of pink Grapefruit Hibiscus Boochcraft. Light a few candles, put some flowers on the table and have a wonderful, wallet-friendly, yet still-classy evening.