I came up with the idea for sausage sugo pizza for the Put a Ring on It dinner while gabbing with my girlfriend on the phone. She gave me a really good constraint and challenged me! She called me to talk about a menu and plan for having her boyfriend to dinner. See, Jenna wanted Bobby to “put a ring on it” and doesn’t understand why he hasn’t done so yet. She thinks that she needs to have him over for dinner and show her homey side. They go out all the time and Jenna is kind of a party girl. I thought it was a good idea until she told me her menu idea which included a main course of endive salad. “Girl, no man is inspired to ask your hand in marriage by an endive salad.” I said. “That might be good for women’s book club, but not moving a man to action! Do you want him to marry you or run away?”  See, I understand the man’s stomach. They love comfort food (and especially what their Mom made for them growing up – if you’ve made friendly with his Mom, this information is valuable).

When I was dating my husband, I innocently invited him for dinner one night. Honestly, I had no marriage intentions in mind. I made a main course of lamb chops in rosemary, garlic and white wine with Italian rosemary roasted potatoes and broccoli. I had no idea that he would be so moved by the little potatoes and that broccoli was his favorite vegetable. It is true that Italian roasted potatoes are amazing, but since I had grown up with them, I just thought everyone ate them. He would have asked me to marry him that night, he later told me. So, ladies, let me help you find your way to a man’s heart through his stomach.

Back to my friend, Jenna. I told her to grab a glass of wine and I would get one, too, and we would brainstorm. I came up with the following menu and even made her one of my party plans. I included tasks for that day such as putting together a sexy playlist and picking out cute lingerie. Better to be prepared, I think, especially when having a few oysters.

I had to do some work in my test kitchen on the pizza recipe because I liked the idea but had not made it before. Now, I will not make anything else if sausage is going on the pizza. When you braise the sausage in wine, add roasted peppers and tomatoes, and make that your pizza sauce base, you won’t believe how amazingly creamy the pizza will turn out. It is actually luscious. You can top it with just cheese or your favorite toppings. I like some black olives and fresno pepper, but it’s versatile to your taste. You can also make extra sausage sugo and save it for pasta on another day.  Now, you don’t want to get too full, so I suggest making petite or small plate pizzas. You need to be able to dance after dinner 🙂

Here is the menu that I constructed for Jenna and the full recipe, shopping list and party plan are available in dinner party plans, Put a Ring on It. By the way, it seems that things are going well for Jenna since Bobby just took her ring shopping, so I hope it works for you, too. What man doesn’t respond to oysters, pizza and warm chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven?!?

Whether you have your sites on a man or woman, this menu works either way. Hugs and kisses!

Put a Ring on It Dinner

Oysters with mignonette
NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve, Champagne 750 mL Wine

Wine-braised sausage sugo gourmet pizza
2012 Janzen Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 750 mL

Warm chocolate chip cookies and ice cream
NV Quady Vya Sweet Vermouth blend – Red 375ML