Summer Date Night: Grilled Veggie & Goat Cheese Pizza

Original post from: Elle Talk

A summer stay at home date night idea. How to make yummy Veggie & Goat Cheese Pizza on the grill with your spouse while pairing crisp Cameron Hughes wines to your meal. Plus finally get the details on Brad’s homemade pizza dough recipe! This post is intended for those of the ages 21+.

I’m not sure when exactly it happened but over the course of the last year, our weekly date night got pushed to Wednesday nights. Maybe it was due to Brad’s school schedule or because having something fun during the week makes the work week go by quicker. Whatever it may be, that makes tonight, date night! With the temperatures already in the upper 90s here in Houston, we’re calling it summer. Which means we’ve started pulling our summer date night ideas out and putting them into rotation. Since we’re big on cooking, we don’t always opt to go out. For me, when I think summer date night, I think splitting a bottle of crisp white wine on the patio and firing up the grill to eat outside. We’ll opt out of hamburgers and together we’ll cook up pizza on the grill topped with homemade dough and seasonal vegetables. Think warm melty cheese, bright vegetables, and slightly charred dough. Yum, right?

When it comes to the wine, our go to is Cameron Hughes. We’ll pick two different styles for the evening to split. My husband prefers to sip on something that compliments the meal while we prep and eat. Then after dinner we carry our conversation off with a sweeter wine rather than having dessert. Though, no judgement if you do both. There is just something about creating a meal that brings us closer together and want to toast our wine to those sweet summer nights. So how do we go about prepping this date night?

Brad’s Homemade Pizza Dough

To start, I know what you’re thinking. “Does this mean we’ll get Brad’s pizza recipe he’s been working on?” Yes, because it’s date night, everyone should be involved! Though if you feel like making dough is out of your wheel house (it’s really easy though), your local bakery & grocery store will have pre-made pizza dough that will work just fine too. We normally make our dough the night before to give it a 24 hour rest but you can do it the morning of and give it a 12 hour rest.

To make this Brad starts by activating the yeast. He combines yeast and warm water together, mixing it until it foams up. He sets it aside. If the mixture doesn’t foam, the yeast is dead. So give it another try with new dry yeast. After that he’ll head to the stand mixer and add the bread flour to it. With a dough hook attachment and the stand mixer on low. He will slowly add cold water to the dough mixture. While that’s coming together he’ll add two tablespoons of cold water to the yeast mixture while stirring it. From there he will combine the yeast mixture to the flour mixture. Letting it mix until the dough starts to cling to the hook. From there stopping the mixer, scraping down the sides, and removing the dough off the hook and back into the bowl. He’ll pour olive oil and salt into the bowl and begin to mix again until well combined. Once it’s come together and sticking to the dough hook in a loose shape, he will remove the dough from the mixer and on to an unfolded surface. He kneads the dough by digging his palm into the dough, dragging in upward, and folding it back. Repeating for 3-4 minutes.

The dough then goes back into the mixing bowl and is covered with a towel for 20-25 minutes while it rises. After that Brad will divide the dough in two sections (about 1 pound each) and roll the dough into two balls. Setting on a tray and covering with plastic wrap, letting it rest for a minimum of 12 hours or maximum 48 hours. When ready, the dough is removed from refrigerator and added to a floured surface to be rolled out into 11 inch rounds.

Summer Veggie & Goat Cheese Grilled Pizza

From here it’s super easy! We’ll start by pre-heating the grill to 700 degrees. We’ll even open a bottle of wine while we prep our toppings. For this pizza we like to start with a Cameron Hughes’ Chardonnay. We genuinely love Cameron Hughes Wine, which you’ll remember from Christmas. It’s all about what’s inside the bottle, no fancy label, simple website, just high quality wine at affordable prices. Which is perfect for a date night or in this case even a double date night with another couple because this recipe makes enough! (Free shipping code below) Once the glasses are poured we will thinly chop the summer zucchini and yellow bell pepper into rounds. We’ll also dice up the goat cheese for quicker assembly. We’ll add those to a heat proof tray along with white sauce (there are some pretty good store bought ones now), shredded mozzarella cheese, and olive oil. Right before you head to the grill take the 11-inch dough rounds you’ve rolled out and brush one side with olive oil.

At the grill you’ll carefully add the pizza dough, olive oil side down, onto the grates. Brush the top side with a layer of olive oil and cook with the top of the grill open for 2-3 minutes. You want grill marks but not dried out dough, use a spatula to check the underneath side after a minute and half. Flip the pizza over and work quickly but carefully. Add a layer of white sauce, then the mozzarella cheese, add half the bell peppers, half the zucchini, and top with half of the goat cheese. Close the grill and let cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Pull the pizza off once the cheesy starts to bubble and your vegetables are tender. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing and eating. Repeat the process with your second pizza.

This pizza is just one of my favorites. The idea of putting zucchini on a pizza is unique but turns out fantastic. It makes for a light and flavorful seasonal pizza. Plus I love that we get to make it together. After we’ve eaten our fill we will cap off our night with a sweeter wine. I’ll pull for a Riesling, I like the Cameron Hughes lot 622. It’s crisp, light, and fruity which pairs perfect to the summer night breezes that roll in and good conversation that will be had. These summer nights made around food and drink are some of my most cherished memories. I can’t wait to make more of them through the summer.

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