Sicilian pizza = family gatherings. It would not be a family gathering without including the Sicilian pizza, especially through the holidays. My mom would bake sheet after sheet pan of pizza to serve our hungry family, uncles, aunts and cousins. Grabbing squares of pizza, it didn’t matter if they were hot or at room temp or even leftover cold straight from the fridge! Way back then, I never knew there were round pizzas! The round ones came from the pizza restaurants, and we never ordered a pizza!
I rarely bake the thick crust pizza. My favorite is the thin crust, as in my Napoletana Pizza I make every Friday evening. But when I drift back down memory lane as I was this morning, thinking of Christmas past, there was no other pizza in my life than the thick, square cut Sicilian pizza.
Within minutes of this memory, I grabbed my mom’s well worn, handwritten recipe book and gently flipped through the pages, now barely attached, to find her recipe. As I browsed through the pages, each recipe brings forth a memory, a scene from the dining table, gathering of family, comfort and warmth within our home.
Notice the fork marks? That was my job when my mom made the dough, and only could I be allowed to prick the dough if I did not get carried way. As she was always the perfectionist, never too many, never too little, never too deep, just enough. (See Gina, it runs in the family and now you know why I’m always over your shoulder when we cook together!!)
My mom would make the dough, and for holidays when she was expecting a lot of company, she would freeze several right on the baking sheets. Always for my Uncle Joe, she would make one white pizza, no sauce, just mozzarella, for him. We kids all knew not to touch his pizza! For the rest she either used sausage, pepperoni or just plain mozzarella. For this pizza, I topped it with onions which were lightly caramelized in….anchovies! Yep, secret is out, but my son, who never reads my post, will never know or question it. I use the oil from the anchovies and while they cook, the anchovies disappear leaving only their punch of flavor that many people can’t quite figure out.
Sicilian Pizza Dough
from mom, with love
1 envelope quick rise active yeast (she used the cake yeast, which becomes active quicker, therefore I used the quick rise)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 cup warm water, about 110 degrees
3 tablespoon olive oil (I like to use a garlic flavored olive oil)
1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 1/2 – 4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water in a large mixing bowl or stand up mixer with the dough hook. Proof until foamy, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the salt, oil and 2 cups of flour. Mix well and slowly add in the additional flour. Continue in the mixer with the dough hook or knead by hand on a well floured board until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a oiled bowl and cover until doubled about 1 hour for the quick rise yeast, 2 hours for regular. Punch down and form into a 12 x 17 inch pan, that was lightly oiled. Dimple the crust with your fingertips as you form into the pan and carefully prick carefully with a fork. (The fork pricking is to prevent the crust from bubbling up.) If the dough is resistant to reach the corner, allow it to rest a few minutes and try again. Cover pan with a towel and rest for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees during this resting period so the oven is very hot. Add toppings of your choice, always to remember less is better. Place the baking sheet on the lower rack in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes, until the crust is crispy and lightly browned.
Makes about 16 square servings.
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.
You’ve got me wanting pizza for supper now. Your anchovy trick is similar but a little different to mine – I put anchovy paste into the tomato sauce 😉
oh, I keep a tube of anchovy paste around too! Nice tip!
Wow – wish I could jump right into that picture. Definitely look like the real Sicilian.
Had to smile about never eating roubd pizza – it was the same in our house! Gorgeous recipe and I’m with you on the anchovies 🙂
Thanks Tanya! Glad to hear we shared the same square pizza tradition!
I’ve a thin crust fan but this looks so good and I love your family story – the best! – and food sure seems to bring up the memories.
I went to look at your Napoletana link – I remember it from last year as soon as I looked and the custom of having it in honor of the Immaculate Conception. Another nice memory – commemoration.
You introduced me to adding anchovies with your Putanesca post. I’ve since become a fan of Melissa Clark (NYTimes) and she puts anchovies in almost everything so between your intro and her, I put anchovies in a lot of things.
Hi Liz, I quickly searched up Melissa Clark, and there it was, several recipes with anchovies! I don’t reveal that I use anchovies in my dishes to guests unless I know someone is allergic to seafood and no one has ever “caught” me! Now I don’t like to actually see the whole anchovy on my food, but melted into a sauce or dish, and especially in a Caesar salad, just adds a depth of flavor like no other.
I love your family memories and your mother’s cookbook looks like it could belong to my mother – how precious are these old hand-written recipes! I love the look of your pizza and I must try making one with a hint of anchovies xx
My mom baked and cooked so much, but the simplicity of her recipe book amazes me. Mostly she cooked from her heart and memory, like I believe so many of our mothers did.
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
I like your mother’s pizza! It looks delicious and perfect for right this minute!
Thank you Maureen, I think I’m going to be making it more often, slipping it in every other Friday instead of my thin crust!
Judy @Savoring Today
We made pizza every Christmas too. They were round and square, any shape we could throw some dough into and feed a crowd ~ love those memories. 🙂 I adore the old recipe book pages! Your Sicilian is perfect for a party, adding anchovies when caramelizing the onions is just brilliant.
Thank you Judy. It definitely works well for a party. I’ve noticed that even carb avoiders seem to grab a slice of pizza!
It’s cold up here and that looks so warm and comforting. Loved the family story.
Thanks David. It seems like holidays bring forth family memories of good times!
This looks sooooo amazing! I would really love to be at your kitchen table, nibbling on slice after slice of these pies of perfection. I love the fork tidbit. I can’t wait to try your recipe. I am a thick crust girl when not considering my carb load. How lovely to have your mom’s cookbook.
Geni, you come right over! And bring some cookies!
I like pizza both ways, thin crust and this thick Sicilian. Love the trick with the anchovies. Your photo’s are beautiful too!
Thank you Suzanne. My son finished the whole pizza and never made a comment about anything tasting “fishy” !!
My mouth is watering…you have me crave for pizza for the breakfast! Love your simple topping.
I have to admit, when I was a teen, I’d grab a slice of pizza before heading off to school! And it was cold!
Does this bring me back. Saturday night was pizza night and it was never a thin crust. Anchovies were reserved for Dad’s pizza but, if he were alive today, we’d be fighting over them. Great tip about cooking the anchovies with the onions. Oh, I’ll still put whole anchovies on top of the pizza but this will give me a way to add more. 🙂
We would also go even further with our thick crust pizza and slice a square lengthwise to make a sandwich out of it! No one ever worried about carbs back then and my whole family was thin!
Anchovies on top…I’ll have to work on that, but if I close my eyes and take a bite, I’ll love it!
Great post, I am laughing about your son and the anchovies – I still have to conquer anchovies, so you would have to keep that secret from me too!
Food and memories… go together hand in hand
If my son would come into the kitchen more often, he’d pick up on my tricks! And learn to cook more! He does pretty well though I must admit. And hopefully, he too will look back on food and memories with love!
Something delicious tied to family memories! This looks wonderful to me. 🙂
Amy @ Elephant Eats
I wish my family had more foods that we were known for…aside from thanksgiving, we really don’t have many traditions. My mom always makes cookies at christmastime, but the type varies. It’s so nice that you can associate sicilian pizza with family gatherings 🙂 What an awesome recipe to have in your family! I love anchovies so caramelizing the onions in their oils sounds amazing. I’m going to try this for sure!!!
My husband would love that. Carmelized onion in anchovy. Great idea.
Oooh.. would you look at that pizza.. so tasty looking! I feel like eating my laptop too! Haha.. Thanks for the recipe, I’ll certainly try this soon. By the can you help me guess the pizza pie recipe of this link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/115753762@N04/12190783726/ in just one look? This is from Torino’s Pizza Oviedo that I really wanted to make myself. I’ll be travelling soon and unfortunately I wont be ale to call for delivery just to eat this again. I’ll be long gone so I guess I’ll just learn this also. It’s the best Oviedo pizza I ever had. Please, help out! Thanks a lot!
Hi Karen, thank you for stopping by and “enjoying” my Sicilian pizza! With a quick look at their pizza it looks like it is topped with broccoli, mushroom, onion, black olive, fresh garlic, tomato sauce and mozzarella or ricotta cheese. Just use a small amount of each ingredient. I’d chop/slice them all small so as not to have to blanch the broccoli. I also see thin circular pieces that almost look like a jalapeno – if you tasted a bit of heat, that could be it! The crust looks similar to my Napolitano Pizza, http://savoringeverybite.com/2012/12/08/napoletana-pizza-dough/
I hope that helps and if you make it, please let me know how it turn out!!