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Homemade Pizza: The Meal to Seal the Deal

You could just make pasta. You could roast a chicken and boil some water and create a delicious meal to present to your almost-significant other. But if you want to seal the deal, don't let them sit around watching you mix, stir, and flip. Cooking shouldn't be a spectator sport, so get them to actively participate. No better way to show off your kitchen skills while discovering theirs than by making good, ol'-fashioned pizza.

Far too many times, cooks think that guests should do nothing while they run around their kitchen and do everything. Pay attention, kid: Your guests are bored. Give them something to do besides flipping through your Jack Johnson collection.

Start with no more than four six-inch ready-made pizza crusts, and prep all your ingredients beforehand. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and set up 2 cups each of marinara, diced tomatoes, and shredded mozzarella, 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons of minced garlic, 2 diced green bell peppers, and prepackaged pepperoni (or salami). For garnishes, grab chili flakes, oregano, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. If you really want to go all out, make your own dough.

The point to impress comes when you team up to make something together. Mix and match any of the ingredients, or stick to re-creating a tradition. For a regular pie, spoon on ¼ of a cup (more or less, depending on your sauce reliance) and spread evenly on dough. Sprinkle on the mozzarella cheese, and then brush olive oil around the crust. Add pepperoni or salami to your liking and bake for 10-12 minutes. Swap pies to see whose is better.

For a different kind of pie, try the marinara, cayenne, minced garlic, bell peppers, and pepperoni. (Clearly, I am infatuated with anything involving garlic.)

For wine, pair your pizzas with red or black grape wines like Sangiovese or Tempranillo. If those aren't available, search for an older Syrah, Shiraz, or something dry.

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Dori Zinn

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