Culture

How to Make Homemade Sicilian Pizza [With Video]

New Yorkers think that their thin-crust pizza is the best (and I’m a little biased in this area). Those who hail from Chicago strongly believe in their deep-dish. In Los Angeles, you’ll almost exclusively find brick oven pies, and in practically every shopping mall and airport across America, you’ll probably happen upon the Sbarro chain. No matter where you get your slice though, one thing remains constant: Pizza is the best. Even “bad” pizza still tastes good.

Perhaps one of the most gratifying things a home cook can do, then, is to make his or her own pizza pie. From scratch. Because you really can’t mess it up – it will be delicious no matter what. What’s more, if you have children in the house, pizza-making is a wonderful family activity. You and your kids can make and knead the dough, and decide on toppings together. Little ones love to see their creation become something yummy to eat right before their eyes. (Just make sure those hands are washed before they start digging into that dough!)

While I do enjoy making thin-crust pies on a pizza stone with various toppings, one of my favorite pizzas to make is actually a Sicilian pie, also known as “Nonna’s pizza.” (Nonna means “grandmother” in Italian.) I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but if you’ve ever been in a pizza joint in New York City, you’ve definitely seen Sicilian pizza. Hopefully you’ve even gotten a slice—because it is spectacular. And lucky for us, it’s easy to make. My brother, Paul, has perfected this process, and here’s how he does it.

See next page for the recipe. 

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 4 cups of flour (preferably bread flour, but all-purpose flour is fine)
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 ½ cups of warm water (not hot)
  • 1 packet of dry yeast
  • Olive oil

For the pizza:

  • About 10 oz. of shredded mozzarella cheese (or sliced fresh mozzarella if it’s available), or more if desired.
  • 28-oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano). Break the tomatoes apart so that they are in smaller clumps.
  • Grated parmesan cheese (for sprinkling on top)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dried oregano
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves (dried is ok if necessary)

Directions

For the dough:

  • Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer, and combine using the paddle attachment.
  • Slowly add the water and 2 tablespoons of oil while the mixer is running.
  • You want the dough to be soft but not too sticky or dry, so add 1 tablespoon at a time of flour or water, as needed, until the dough comes together in a nice clump.
  • Place the dough on a floured tabletop and knead into a ball.
  • Grease a large bowl with about 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and place the ball of dough in it.
  • Score the dough with an “X” and cover with plastic wrap or a towel.
  • Place in a warm, dark place for about an hour so the dough can rise.

For the pizza:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Knead and roll out the risen dough, and spread it on a large baking sheet that has been lightly greased with a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Lightly drizzle a little more oil on the flattened out dough and rub it over the entire surface.
  • Sprinkle a little salt, pepper and dried oregano directly on the dough.
  • Take handfuls of mozzarella and spread over the pan of seasoned dough.
  • Cover the cheese with the broken up tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle parmesan over the tomatoes.
  • Top off with pieces of fresh basil (or a light sprinkling of dried basil).
  • Bake at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and let sit for a couple of minutes.
  • Cut into squares and enjoy!