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Serve Up Some Sicilian-Style Thick Crust Pizza

I know yesterday was National Pizza Day, but Monday is always my busiest day with work so I knew I was going to have time to post a new pizza recipe that I had tried out. I have made lots of different pizzas, sometimes with making my own dough and sometimes with store-bought dough and they have all turned out pretty well, though some are always better than others. Not long ago Sean had asked me if I ever thought about trying to make a Sicilian pizza instead of just regular pizza. I hadn’t had Sicilian pizza in quite a long time and had never made it myself before, but I was always willing to try and was waiting for the right recipe to come along to inspire me. Then along came this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for Sicilian-style thick crust pizza and it seemed just right. I did have to pick up a couple of things I don’t normally have around, namely semolina flour and anchovies, but other than that I had everything else ready to go and gave it a try.

For the Dough:

2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

2 cups (12 ounces) semolina flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 2/3 cups (13 1/3 ounces) ice water

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 1/4 teaspoons salt


For the Sauce:

1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


For the Pizza:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)

12 ounces whole-milk mozzarella, shredded (3 cups)

For the pizza dough: Using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the all-purpose flour, semolina flour, sugar, and yeast on low speed until the ingredients are combined, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, slowly add the ice water and oil until the dough forms and no dry flour remains, about 1 to 2 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough stand for 10 minutes.

 Add the salt to the dough and mix the dough on medium speed until the dough forms a satiny, sticky ball that clears the sides of bowl, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it briefly on a lightly floured counter until it is smooth, about 1 minute. Shape the dough into a tight ball and place it in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours or up to 48 hours.

 To make the sauce, process the tomatoes, sugar, and salt in a food processor until the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Heat  the olive oil and garlic in a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant and just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, anchovies, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook until the mixture is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce measures 2 cups, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, let it cool, and refrigerate the sauce until it is needed.

 To make the pizza, one hour before baking the pizza, place a baking stone on the upper-middle rack and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet (including the rim) with vegetable oil spray, then coat the bottom of the pan with oil. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer it to a lightly floured counter. Lightly flour the top of the dough and gently press it into a 12 by 9-inch rectangle. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 18 by 13-inch rectangle. Transfer the dough to a prepared baking sheet, fitting the dough into the corners. Spray the top of the dough with vegetable oil spray and lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the dough. Place a second baking sheet on the dough and let it stand for 1 hour.

 Remove the top baking sheet and the plastic wrap. Gently stretch and lift the dough to fill the pan. Using the back of a spoon or ladle, spread the sauce in an even layer over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the entire surface of the dough to the edges followed by the mozzarella.

Place the pizza on the baking stone; reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees and bake the pizza until the bottom crust is evenly browned and the cheese is bubbly and browned, about 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pizza halfway through the baking process. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the pizza. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board, cut it into squares, and serve.

You do need to plan this one a day or two ahead of time so he dough has a chance to rest properly. The two different flours do make a difference here as you get the thick crust that is more cake-like than chewy like you get with a thin crust. The anchovy adds some great flavor to the pizza sauce and overall the combination of the crust and sauce made this a really perfect pizza and one of the better Sicilian pies I have tried. It is worth the work to put into it if you like this type of pizza and don’t want to spend $20 on one from a pizza place. Unfortunately the pictures I took of the pizza seem to have gotten lost in cyberland somewhere between my phone and computer and I cannot find them anywhere, but if I do find it I will post them here. trust me, it looked really good.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on February 10, 2015 in Cooking, Dinner, Pizza


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An Easy Almost Chicago-Style Deep Dish Sausage Pizza

Very often around here Friday night’s are pizza night and more often than not I make my own pizza. It seems just as easy, doesn’t take a lot of time to make, and costs less than buying 2 pizzas from our favorite pizza place nearby. I have nothing against getting a pizza now and then; we do it ourselves on nights where no one has the energy to cook,but I just think for the minimum effort it takes to make the dough or even buy the pizza dough (most times a pound of dough is only about a dollar), you can make a pretty good pizza on your own. Sean had been asking me to try making a deep dish pizza because he wanted it, and I found a pretty easy recipe on the Cooking Channel website that was a good one to try.

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Sausage Pizza

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, sliced into thin rounds or removed from the casing and crumbled

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 pound pizza dough, at room temperature, or 1 serving of Food Processor Pizza Dough, at room temperature

10 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded or thinly sliced

1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce or 1 1/2 cups crushed and strained tomatoes

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Cook the sausage until the sausage is nicely browned and cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Grease the inside of a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with the softened butter. Place the pizza dough in the center of the skillet and spread the dough evenly towards the bottom edge and 1 1/2 inches up the sides.

Begin layering the ingredients on your pizza crust by evenly laying the sausage on the dough, followed by the mozzarella cheese and then by the tomato sauce or the tomatoes, whichever you happen to be using. Sprinkle the garlic and the dried oregano on top of the cheese and sauce. Finish the topping by adding the Parmesan cheese on top and drizzle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

Place the cast-iron skillet on the bottom rack of the oven and cook the pizza until the edge of the crust is golden brown and crusty, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and allow the pizza to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Just a couple of quick notes about my experience with this recipe. First, you should preheat the oven for about 20 minutes or so to make sure the temperature is nice and hot before you put the pizza in. This seemed to make a big difference for me. Secondly, I didn’t get the pizza as “deep dish” as I would have liked it since I did not have quite enough dough to fully go up the sides of the pan. I had split the dough in half to make two pizzas and kind of short-changed myself, so make sure you have enough dough if you really want that deep, crispy crust. Thirdly, the sequence in the layering does seem to make a difference in getting the crisp bottom that you want. Putting the sausage on the bottom does make a difference here and helps to crisp the crust. You could, of course, use any toppings that you like for your pizza, but since we all like sausage pizza it worked well for us. This recipe is a very easy one that is perfect when you want the crunchy, deep-dish style pizza.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on May 18, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Pizza


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Feeling For French Bread Pizza

It continues to be ridiculously hot here in New York. The temperature has been in the high 90’s all week with high humidity, making things quite unbearable and making me feel miserable and not much like cooking. We ate late night the last 2 nights just so it would be a little bit cooler when I cooked and I did turn the oven on. Here is one of the recipes I decided to try, just using leftovers and things we had in the pantry as my energy level was low. We had some leftover baguettes from dinner earlier in the week and I found this great recipe at Serious Eats for some French Bread Pizza.

French Bread Pizza

3 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

Pinch red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley or basil leaves, or a mix

Kosher salt

1 large loaf French or Italian bread, split in half lengthwise

1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

8 ounces grated mozzarella cheese

2 ounces Parmigiano-reggiano

Adjust the oven rack to the upper position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat the butter and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in half of the parsley/basil and a big pinch of salt. Remove from the heat.

Place the bread cut-side up on a clean work surface. Using a rimmed baking sheet, press down on the bread evenly until it is compressed to about 2/3 of its original height. Place the bread on top of the rimmed baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush half of the garlic mixture evenly over the cut surfaces of the bread, making sure to get plenty of bits of garlic and aromatics on the bread. Set aside.

Add the tomatoes to the remaining garlic mixture in the saucepan, stir to combine, increase the heat to medium. bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to maintain a bare simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is rich and reduced, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

While the sauce cooks, spread 1/4 of the mozzarella evenly over the surface of the bread and transfer the bread to the oven. Cook until the cheese is barely melted, about 8 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and set it aside until the sauce is cooked.

Spread the cooked sauce evenly over the bread, then spread the remaining mozzarella on top of the sauce.Transfer the bread to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and is just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and immediately sprinkle it with the Parmigiano-reggiano, the remaining parsley/basil and the remaining tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil. Allow the pizza to cool slightly before serving.

These pizzas are better than anything you will remember having as a kid out of your freezer. You do want to make sure you let them cool slightly before you eat them so as not to burn the rook of your mouth off on the hot cheese. I loved the taste of what is basically garlic bread serving as the base for your pizza. I used some sautéed shallots along with some leftover Italian sausage we had on most of the pizzas and then I used some leftover diced chicken with some Buffalo wing sauce to make a couple of buffalo chicken varieties. Of course, you can top the pizzas with whatever you would like. The nice things is that they do not take long to cook so you won’t have a lot of heat in the kitchen. You can serve this with a simple side salad and you are all set for dinner.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time to see what else comes along. I do still have a few new recipes to post that you will want to check out. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day, stay cool and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on July 18, 2013 in Cooking, Dinner, Pizza


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