I grew up in an Italian/American household where eating Sicilian style pizza was something we did often. Whether it was homemade or bought from the local pizzeria this Sicilian style pie I am referring to was always square and slightly thicker than the more traditional round pies. Not quite a deep dish and definitely not a thin crust, the Sicilian pizza seems to be its own distinct style of pie.
My mom would spread her pizza dough into a baking sheet, top it with either olive oil and anchovies or tomato sauce and mozzarella; depending on if we wanted a red or white pie. The thick crust, square pie baked up crispy on the bottom and light and chewy on the inside. It was dense yet light all at the same time.
It's been awhile since I've had a good Sicilian pie so when I saw the recipe below on Seriouseats.com I had to give it a try. Let's just say this pie reminds me of being a kid in Philadelphia a time when Sicilian pies of all sorts were much easier to come by then they are today.
Sicilian Style Pepperoni Pizza
(adapted from Seriouseats.com)
For the dough Made in a Food Processor
17.5 ounces bread flour (500g; about 3 1/2 cups)
1/2 ounce salt (14g; about 1 tablespoon)
1/4 ounce instant or rapid-rise yeast (6g; about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
0.35 ounce extra-virgin olive oil (20g; 2 tablespoons), plus 1/4 cup olive oil (60ml; 40g) for the pan
11.5 ounces room-temperature water (325g; about 1 cup plus 7 tablespoons)
Combine flour, salt, yeast, 0.35 ounce olive oil, and water in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade or dough blade attachment. Process until a dough that rides around the blade forms, then continue processing for 30 seconds.
Pour remaining 1/4 cup olive oil into a 13- by 18-inch rimmed baking sheet and spread over entire inner surface with your hands. Transfer dough to baking sheet and turn in oil until thoroughly coated. Spread gently with your hands. (It will not stretch to fill the pan; this is fine.) Cover baking sheet with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until dough has slackened and started to spread out toward the edges of the pan, 2 to 3 hours. Carefully remove plastic wrap from pizza dough. Using oiled hands, and working as gently as possible to maintain air bubbles, push and stretch dough into the corners of the pan by pressing out from the center, lifting each corner, and stretching it beyond the edge of the pan. It should pull back until pan is just filled with dough. Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes while you make the sauce.
Thirty minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lower position and preheat oven to 550°F.
For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
9 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon (about 4g) dried oregano
2-3 teaspoons (about 3g) dried red pepper flakes, to taste
1 (28-ounce; 800g) can whole peeled tomatoes
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until softened and aromatic, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes. Using a pastry cutter or a potato masher, break up tomatoes into fine chunks. Stir in sugar. Bring to a bare simmer and allow to cook for about 15 minutes to let flavors meld. Season to taste with salt. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
To Assemble and Bake:
1 pound (450g) mozzarella chees, shredded
1/2 stick pepperoni, cut into thin slices (see note above)
4 ounces (115g) ground Pecorino Romano cheese
Spread mozzarella cheese evenly over surface of pizza. Spoon sauce on top of cheese spreading with the back of a spoon. Only put as much sauce as you desire. Place pepperoni slices evenly over surface. Sprinkle with half of Romano cheese. Transfer to oven and bake until pepperoni is crisp and curled and bottom of pizza is golden brown when you peek by lifting the corner with a thin spatula, about 10 minutes.
Remove pizza from oven. Sprinkle with remaining half of Romano cheese, use a pizza wheel to cut it into slices, and serve immediately.