Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pizza Siciliano

Pizza Siciliano
1 13"x 17" pizzas

One of my first jobs was as a young pizzaiuolo (Italian for pizza chef) at Sally's Sicilian Pizzeria in Deer Park, New York.  Sicilian pizza is slightly different than the Neapolitan pizzas most Americans are familiar with.  For the first thing, Sicilian pizza is rectangular and secondly, while Neapolitan pizza is known for being very thin, Sicilian pizza is 1 inch or more thick.
                                                                                 Prep time: 1 hour 45 minutes
                                                                                 Pizza cook time: 15 minutes
                                                                                 Total time: 2 hours


Basic Sicilian Pizza dough:

13.2 ounces (2 1/2 cups) bread flour, plus extra for "bench" flour
7.4 ounces lukewarm (105°F) water
.21 ounces fine sea salt
.32 ounce extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for the pan and to drizzle
.21 ounces of honey
.16 ounces active dry yeast

to make more than one pizza the bakers ratio is: flour=100%, water=70%, honey=2%, yeast=1.5%, salt=2%, and olive oil= 3%

Spicy New York Style Pizza Sauce:

4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus some to drizzle
1 tablespoon butter
1 heaping tablespoon dehydrated onions
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
28 ounces canned San Marzano tomatoes, finely hand crushed or pureed
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon sugar


2 cups Spicy New York Style Pizza Sauce (see recipe above)
8 ounces of grated whole milk mozzarella
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

Sliced pepperoni, sausage (sliced or crumbled), onions (sliced or chopped), green or peppers (sliced or chopped), pitted green, black of Kalamata olives (sliced or whole), ham (sliced or torn), meatballs (sliced), salami (sliced), Basil (whole or chiffonade), anchovies, or a combination of the above

Basic Sicilian Pizza dough:

1.  Proof the yeast by mixing the honey into the water in a bowl or large measuring cup until the honey dissolves; sprinkle the yeast over the honeyed warm water and stir in.  Let the mixture to stand until the mixture forms a spongy head, about 10 minutes (if the yeast doesn't form a foamy head discard and start again, the yeast is “dead”).
2.  Add the flour to the bowl of your stand mixer and form a well in the center; put the salt, the olive oil, and the proofed yeast into the well.  Attach the dough hooks to the mixer and turn mixer to low and mix until the dough begins to come together and no dry flour remains.
Increase the mixer’s speed to medium-high and mix, scraping down the bowl side occasionally if necessary, until the dough is stretchy and smooth and comes cleanly away from sides of bowl (it may stick to the bottom of the bowl but that’s ok), the dough should be only slightly sticky to touch; about 6 minutes.
3.  Transfer the dough onto lightly floured flat work surface and knead into a smooth ball; about 5 minutes do not skimp on this step as it develops the elasticity of the dough.
4.  Lightly coat the inside of a large bowl with some extra-virgin olive oil.  Add dough ball and turn to coat it with oil (be sure to coat the ball or it will form a crust which will impede the dough's rising). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to double in size, about 1 hour.   
5.  At this point the dough can either be used immediately or the dough can be placed in an appropriately sized resealable plastic bag(s), sealed and placed in a refrigerator for up to 4 days to allow additional flavour to develop.   Remember, if you’ve refrigerated the dough allow at least 1 hour before you are going to make the pizza(s), take the dough out of the refrigerator shape into a ball(s) and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for that time.

*note: if you are making multiple pizzas, after the dough has doubled in size divide the dough into equal sized portions for immediate use or place each portion in its own resealable bag for maturing. 

the pizza base:

1.   Lightly oil a 13"x 17" rectangular, rimmed cookie sheet (I call them pizza pans).
2.  Proceed to form the pizza by placing the ball of dough on a flat, floured work surface and flatten it out to form into a rough rectangle; then using your hands, work the rough rectangle into a finished 13"x 17" rectangle, us a rolling pin if you wish.   Lightly flour the rectangle to keep it from sticking to itself and fold the finished rectangle in half and transfer it the oiled pizza pan, unfold it and adjust it to fill the pan edge to edge.
3.  Cover the pan with a damp cloth (try to avoid having the cloth touch the dough) and allow to rise in the pizza pan for about 1/2 hour.
4.  Proceed to prepare the Spicy New York Style Pizza Sauce.

Spicy New York Style Pizza Sauce:

 1.  In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, bring the olive oil to the ripple state, add  the dehydrated onions, the basil, the oregano, the crushed red pepper flakes**, and the granulated garlic  and cook, stirring constantly, until the  herbs are fragrant, about 1 minute. 
2.  Reduce the heat to low and add the crushed/pureed tomatoes, stirring constantly until the tomatoes combine with the herbs and begins to caramelizes, about 3 minutes.  Raise the heat and bring to a simmer.  Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt, black pepper, sugar and additional red pepper.
3.  Cover and simmer for about 1/2 hour over low heat.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
*note:  left over pizza sauce can be frozen and used at a later date
**note:  if you're not sure of how spicy you like your sauce start with 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and adjust seasoning during cooking.

Place your oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat the oven to 550° F.

constructing and baking the pizza:

1.   Build the "pie" by distributing the tomato sauce over the "pie" completely to the edges (or to within 1-inch of the edge if you enjoy the crust).  Top this by evenly distributing first the grated Parmesan then the shredded mozzarella cheese over the sauce.  Add any additional toppings and finally even distribute about 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil over the entire pizza.
2.  Place the pizzas in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and begins to brown slightly, becomes bubbly and the bottom of the pie begin to brown; at 550° F. this should be about 15 minutes.  Watch the pie and, if your oven does not heat evenly, move the pie around to insure it cooks evenly.


When the pizza is finished remove from oven, immediately sprinkle with the Parmesan and either cut the pie in half or thirds the long way and then into fourths width-wise to produce 12  slices.


Cheri Walker said...

I ate a pizza at your mama's house on Long Island a lot like this one!

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