Pizza night is one of our favorite ways to have an easy & fun date night at home! I’m super excited to share how to make pizza, pizza dough tips + tricks, & our favorite pizza night ideas for his & hers pizzas. Plus, we’re sharing our 2 favorite homemade pizzas: His (for the meatlovers!) – Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza with Banana Peppers & Hers (for the veggie lovers!) – Vegetarian Pesto Pizza with Mushrooms, Artichokes & Olives.
This post is sponsored by the DeLallo Foods, who I’m so excited to partner & share with you all throughout 2019. All thoughts & opinions are my own.
How to make pizza at home even easier!
Ever since Chris & I got married in 2015, pizza night has been one of our favorite & most treasured weekly rituals. For the longest time, we’d wind our weekend down on Sunday night by heading to our favorite neighborhood pizza joint to share a couple of pies & beers. The perfect Sunday night routine.
These days, our pizza nights look a little bit different! Ever since we got our Ooni pizza oven, we opt to make our own pizzas at home. With a little bit of practice & a good shortcut here & there, making pizza at home is just as easy & fun as going out, without the giant bill at the end. Win-win!
& my favorite easy pizza night secret weapon? DeLallo’s Pizza Dough Kit, of course!
Holy smokes, this pizza dough kit is homemade pizza GOLD. Seriously!
I’ll be the first to admit that I was a little skeptical about it – I’m the kind of person who typically likes to have my hand at making things from scratch – but DeLallo’s pizza dough kit is EASY & it is GOOD. Like…really good.
It’s made with 00 flour, which creates a crust that’s strong enough to hold any array of pizza toppings your homemade pizza heart could desire, plus it has the perfect combination of chewy texture and great flavor.
& best of all – prepping it couldn’t be easier! All you have to do is mix the contents of the kit with water. It’s seriously the easiest & best fresh pizza dough I’ve ever made!
With your pizza crust all ready to go, all you need to do for the perfect pizza date night is get your pizza night ideas flowing. You’ll need toppings (keep reading for our current faves!), drinks, salad (if you’re into that kinda thing!), & definitely dessert (definitely!).So much more fun than a dinner out, & at a fraction of the price!
Pizza dough tips + tricks:
After playing around with DeLallo’s pizza dough kit for the past few months, I’ve picked up a few pizza dough tips & tricks along the way, keeping homemade pizza night even easier & more delish.
Here are some of my favorite pizza dough tips!
- Tip #1: Think ahead! DeLallo’s pizza dough kit only takes about 1 hour to proof, but if you know you’re going to do pizza night later in the week, a great head start is prepping your dough in advance. Let your dough proof according to package directions, but instead of rolling it out, transfer it to a resealable plastic bag or airtight container. Store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. On pizza night, take the out of the fridge & let it come up to room temp for about 1 hour before rolling out your pizza crusts.
- Tip #2: Add an extra pinch of Kosher salt to your pizza dough kit before mixing it all up. It’s the simplest thing, but it helps bring out the flavor of the crust so much more.
- Tip #3: Brush the edge of the crust with good olive oil & sprinkle it with flaky Maldon sea salt prior to baking your pizza. This little extra step is inspired by Boludo’s wood-fired pizzas here in Minneapolis. I was so surprised to have never thought of this myself because it’s so simple but SO GOOD. The olive oil helps the crust get perfectly golden brown & the flaky salt adds extra flavor & crunchy texture…it’s addictive. You’ll never not eat your crust again – I swear.
- Tip #4: If your dough is acting a little stubborn – by not really working with you or snapping back into the same shape/size despite working at it – the best thing you can do is give it a minute or two to breathe. The stubborn proteins holding the dough together just need a minute to relax – how high-maintenance of them, ha! Let the dough rest (ahem, pour yourself a glass of wine while you’re at it!) & try again in a couple of minutes – should be much easier!
- Tip #5: If a hole or two shows up when you’re rolling out your dough, that’s totally fine. Use your fingers to pinch it closed. Problem solved!
Staple ingredients for DIY His & Hers pizza night:
For us, the biggest mental hurdle to doing pizza night at home (vs heading to our neighborhood pizza joint instead), is that prepping everything we need for homemade pizzas can be a little daunting.
I’ve found that the secret to keeping pizza night easy & fun is making sure our favorite pizza ingredients are always stocked in your kitchen & ready to go. We like using a couple of fresh ingredients, but we also lean pretty heavily on canned & jarred foods that add big flavor to pizza.
Our current favorite homemade pizzas:
Chris’: Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza with Banana Peppers – the perfect pizza for a meat lover, Chris’ sausage & pepperoni pizza is rich, but not too much so since the richness of the meat is offset by tangy pickled peppers & drizzle of balsamic glaze. It’s made with:
- pizza sauce
- cheese (mozzarella + provolone)
- mini pepperoni
- spicy Italian sausage
- hot banana peppers
- crushed red pepper flake
- balsamic glaze
& Mine!: Vegetarian Pesto Pizza with Mushrooms, Artichokes & Olives – I think this is the ultimate vegetarian pizza! It has tons of freshness, but it also has some super satisfying components, like artichokes & olives. My secret is finishing it off with a little bit of lemon, which offsets the richness of the pizza perfectly! It’s made with:
- basil pesto
- cheese (mozzarella + provolone, + a sprinkle of crumbled goat cheese)
- thinly sliced mushrooms
- grilled artichokes
- kalamata olives
- a squeeze of lemon juice
How to freeze pizza dough:
Because Chris & I only go through half of the pizza dough when we have pizza night, I love to freeze extra pizza dough for the easiest pizza night ever down the road. To freeze fresh pizza dough:
- Transfer any unused pizza dough balls to a freezer bag & freeze for up to 3 months.
- To thaw, place the frozen pizza dough balls in the fridge overnight, OR thaw them out quickly by placing the dough balls (still in the freezer bag!) in a bowl of warm water.
- Once the dough balls are thawed all the way through, set them on the counter for about 30 minutes to come up to room temperature before rolling out the dough into rounds & assembling your pizzas.
Other easy date night recipes for pizza night:
I love coming up with date night dinner ideas to enjoy at home. & seriously? Making his & hers pizzas means everyone is happy and everyone is getting involved in the process.
While having a couple of the most perfect pizza recipes is the star of this pizza night, I always love including some easy drinks, sides, & desserts to make the night complete. You can’t skip those!
- Drinks: Date nights require everyone’s favorite drinks! Whip up a couple of simple cocktails, or just stick with beer & rosé – you really can’t go wrong!
- Salads: A simple green vegetable salad is really all you need here. Add some veggies, or shaved parmesan if you like. I love using a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. This lemony grated zucchini salad is also the perfect touch for a summery pizza party!
- Dessert: My limoncello prosecco floats with lemon sorbetto are the most perfect ending to pizza night at home. You only need 3 simple ingredients, & they’re so refreshing!
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his & hers diy pizza night is an EASY and FUN date night at home! how to make pizza + pizza dough tips & tricks + our favorite toppings!
for the pizza crust:
- DeLallo Pizza Dough Kit
- optional: olive oil + flaky sea salt
his – sausage & pepperoni pizza with banana peppers:
- pizza sauce
- cheese (mozzarella + provolone)
- mini pepperoni, thinly sliced
- spicy Italian sausage, removed from casing & crumbled into small pieces (still raw)
- hot banana peppers
- crushed red pepper flake
- balsamic glaze
hers – vegetarian pesto pizza with mushrooms, artichokes, & olives:
- Prep the pizza dough: At least 1 hour before you’d like to make your pizzas, prep the pizza dough according to package directions. See Recipe Notes for some tips & tricks for using DeLallo’s Pizza Dough Kit.
- Roll out the dough: Once the pizza dough is puffy & has doubled in size, transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Using a knife or a bench scraper, divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a ball, tucking the edges back into the center of the ball until a smooth ball forms. Roll out the dough balls into 10-inch rounds. See Recipe Notes for tips for rolling out pizza dough.
- Preheat your oven: Once you’re ready to begin assembling pizzas, preheat your oven. We always fire up our Ooni pizza oven at this point. Check out this blog post to learn more about our wood-fired Ooni pizza oven! You can also preheat a standard oven to 450 degrees as per package directions – see Recipe Notes for baking instructions.
- Assemble the pizzas: Transfer the crust to a semolina-dustsed pizza peel. Give it a little wiggle to make sure it doesn’t stick! Top your pizza as desired. For Chris’ sausage & pepperoni pizza, we start with a thin layer of pizza sauce spiked with crushed red pepper flakes, then add a couple handfuls of cheese, & top with an even distribution of pepperoni, sausage, & hot peppers. For my vegetarian pesto pizza, we start with a few drizzles of pesto, then add a couple handfuls of cheese, & top with an even distribution of thinly sliced mushroom, artichoke hearts, olives & goat cheese crumbles. A couple of quick tips:
- Brush the edge of the crust with good olive oil & sprinkle it with flaky Maldon sea salt. This little extra step is inspired by Boludo’s wood-fired pizzas here in Minneapolis. I was so surprised to have never thought of this myself because it’s so simple (& kind of bougie) but SO GOOD. The olive oil helps the crust get perfectly golden brown & the flaky salt adds extra flavor & crunchy texture…it’s completely addictive. You’ll never not eat your crust again – I swear.
- It’s important not to go overboard on toppings, especially when it comes to sauce, otherwise your pizza will not bake properly. For a 10-inch pizza, I measure the sauce in a 1/4-cup measuring cup, pour the sauce on to the crust, & use the back of the measuring cup to spread the sauce into an even, thin layer. Works like a charm!
- Our favorite pizza cheese is a blend of shredded mozzarella & provolone. It melts nicely (but doesn’t get too stretchy & chewy) & has good flavor. We just buy the blend prepackaged. You can also add in extra cheeses for flavor: goat cheese, parm or asiago, etc. YUM!
- Cook the pizzas: Working quickly & carefully, transfer the assembled pizza to your pizza oven. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Our wood-fired Ooni pizza oven will cook the pizza in about 1 minute, rotating the pizza halfway through. Again, check out this blog post to learn more about our wood-fired Ooni pizza oven & see Recipe Notes for baking instructions.
- Serve the pizzas: Once cooked, transfer the pizza back to a pizza peel to finish with extra cheese, fresh herbs, or sauce as desired. Think about salt, fat, acid & heat – what does your pizza need to give it the perfect finishing touch? For Chris’ sausage & pepperoni pizza, we give it a little drizzle of balsamic glaze for extra acidity. Similarly, for my vegetarian pesto pizza, we give it a little squeeze of lemon juice for a fresh pop of flavor. Slice & serve. Enjoy!
- A couple of quick tips for using DeLallo’s Pizza Dough Kit:
- Yield: DeLallo’s Pizza Dough Kit 1 large pizza, 2 thick-crust 10-inch pizzas or 4 thin-crust 10-inch pieces. We love thin crust in our house, so we always opt to make 4 10-inch!
- Add an extra pinch of Kosher salt to the flour + yeast mixture before adding the water – the extra salt will help bring out the flavor of the crust even more.
- Depending on the humidity of your kitchen, you may need to dust your counter with a little extra flour to prevent your dough ball from sticking to your countertop as you knead it out. You’ll know you’ve kneaded enough once the dough ball is smooth & doesn’t stick to the touch, so if your dough feels a little wet or sticky, just sprinkle some extra flour overtop to help it out. No need for special flours – all-purpose works great here!
- Make it ahead or freezing for later: Because Chris & I only go through half of the pizza dough when we have pizza night, I love to freeze extra pizza dough for the easiest pizza night ever down the road. To freeze DeLallo’s Pizza Dough Kit pizza dough, place your extra pizza dough balls (mid-Step 2 of Recipe Directions) in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight OR thaw quickly by placing the dough balls (still in the freezer bag!) in a bowl of warm water. Once the dough balls are thawed all the way through, set them on the counter for about 30 minutes to come up to room temperature before rolling out the dough into rounds & assembling your pizzas.
- Rolling out pizza dough can be a little tricky. I like to start by lightly dusting my work surface with flour to help prevent any sticking. Use your palm to press down the center of your dough ball, creating a disc. Using your fingers, work the dough at the center of the disc out towards the edge, making the disc larger & larger. Once your dough is about halfway there, pick it up. Holding the dough by its edge, rotate the dough as though you’re turning a steering wheel. Gravity will help stretch the dough into a larger round. Lastly, you can use a rolling pin to stretch & form the dough into its final shape, 10-inches in diameter. Totally optional, but it’s a really helpful quick step if your crust is a little uneven. Extra tips for troubleshooting pizza dough:
- Stubborn dough: If at any point your dough isn’t really working with you & it’s snapping back into the same shape/size despite working at it, the best thing you can do is give it a minute or two to breathe. The stubborn proteins holding the dough together just need a minute to relax – how high-maintenance of them, ha! Let the dough rest (ahem, pour yourself a glass of wine while you’re at it!) & try again in a couple of minutes – should be much easier!
- Holes in the crust: If a hole or two shows up when you’re rolling out your dough, that’s totally fine. Use your fingers to pinch it closed. Problem solved!
- Baking instructions: We’re obsessed with our wood-fired Ooni pizza oven. You can obviously make homemade pizza in a standard oven too. Here’s some tips & tricks:
- Baking sheet: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Assemble your pizza on a parchment-lined baking sheet & bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese has melted & the crust is golden brown.
- Pizza stone: If you have a pizza stone, definitely put it to use! Let it preheat along with your oven to make sure it’s nice & hot once you transfer your pizza to it! Assemble your pizza on a pizza peel, as per Recipe Directions. Once the oven is preheated, carefully slide the pizza right onto the stone. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese has melted & the crust is golden brown.