This simple, satisfying Sicilian is modeled on the style served for more than seventy years at L&B Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. It’s topped “inverted-style,” with sliced whole-milk mozzarella added first and tomato sauce on top like a traditional tomato pie, so you get that intense reduced-tomato flavor. If you want to add other toppings, like Sautéed Mushrooms or pepperoni, keep the quantity light; you can scatter the toppings right over the sauce before baking, Bensonhurst-style.
Recipe from The Pizza Bible by Tony Gemignani.
“The Brooklyn” Sicilian-Style Pizza
- 1 parbaked Sicilian Dough
- 12 ounces (340 grams) whole-milk mozzarella cheese, sliced (12 slices)
- 1-1/2 cups (370 grams) Sicilian Tomato Sauce (see accompanying recipe), at room temperature
- Olive oil, for drizzling if needed
- Grated Pecorino Romano cheese, for dusting
- Dried oregano, for dusting
- Garlic Oil (see accompanying recipe), for drizzling
Sicilian Tomato Sauce
- 17 ounces (480 grams/2 cups) ground tomatoes, preferably 7/11 or DiNapoli
- 8 ounces (225 grams/ 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons) tomato paste, preferably SuperDolce
- 1-1/2 teaspoons (1 gram) dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) finely chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) fine sea salt
- 8 ounces (225 grams/1 cup) hand-crushed tomatoes
- 1 large fresh basil leaf, torn
- 1-1/2 teaspoons (5 grams) minced garlic
- 1/4 cup (55 grams) extra virgin olive oil
Makes one 12 by 18-inch pizza; 12 squares
If you have turned off the oven after parbaking the dough, reheat it to 450°F for at least 1 hour.
Arrange the mozzarella slices evenly over the top of the dough, leaving a ¾-inch border on all sides. Spoon the tomato sauce onto the center of the pizza, then, using the back of the spoon in a circular motion and working outward from the center, spread the sauce evenly over the cheese.
Place the pan on the top stone and bake for 7 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees, transfer it to the bottom stone, and bake for 6 minutes, until the top is a rich golden brown. Using a wide metal spatula, lift a corner of the pizza and peek at the bottom. If you want it darker and crunchier, transfer the pan to the top stone to bake for 1 to 2 minutes. Keep a watchful eye so the cheese does not overcook.
Run the spatula around the edges of the pizza to make sure it has not stuck in any area. If you suspect a problem, drizzle a bit of olive oil down the side of the pan and work slowly to loosen in that area.
Lift the pizza onto the spatula and transfer it to a cutting board. Make 2 evenly spaced cuts the length of the pizza (to make 3 strips of equal width), then make 3 evenly spaced cuts across the width of the pizza (to make 4 strips of equal width), to make 12 squares. Finish with a dusting of pecorino and oregano and a drizzle of garlic oil.
Sicilian Tomato Sauce
Make this sauce a day ahead, or at least a few hours in advance, so the flavors come together. I like Greek oregano for what I think of as a classic East Coast flavor.
Makes 3-3/4 cups (930 grams)
Combine the ground tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, garlic, and salt in a deep bowl or other deep container and puree with an immersion blender. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and basil.
The sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days before using.
Garlic oil is one of my favorite “secret ingredients” for finishing pizzas. It’s quick and easy to make, but it’s best made at least an hour in advance. The longer you leave it, the more the garlic flavor infuses into the oil, so I recommend making it a day ahead, at the same time you make your sauce.
Makes 1/4 cup (60 grams)
Combine the garlic and oil in a small bowl. Cover and store in the refrigerator for a day or two.
Reprinted with permission from The Pizza Bible by Tony Gemignani, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2014 by Sara Remington.