The first time I made this pizza, I told my mom I could cry how much it reminded me of the restaurant. “This is better than the restaurant!” She was right.
The smell of my kitchen when I make pizza brings me straight back to Bridge Street, where my cousins and I spent our growing up years. I’d always say “my uncle’s restaurant,” but it was a family affair without a doubt. We all did our time there over the years–my mom and dad, my Auntie Sandra, my cousins Mike, Paul and Al, my Uncle Greg and yours truly! Oh, and the old man himself, Alfredo, that was my uncle.
I remember days of extra dough, which meant pizza fritte (phonetically “freet” in the dialect)–delicious fried dough balls, jumbled up in a brown bag of sugar. I remember buttering the tops of the loaves of bread, fresh out of the oven. I remember playing hide and seek in the cellar and the dirty ragbag incident. And, of course, the pizza.
When my #1 taster walked in the day I made this and said it smelled like home, I knew I must be onto something special. I certainly couldn’t ask for a greater compliment. So I present to you, pizza dal cuore–pizza from the heart! Straight from my heart, my hometown and my kitchen. Buon appetito!
FOR THE LOVE OF PIZZA: PIZZA DAL CUORE
Katty’s Kitchen’s spin on “Grandma Pizza”
First, the dough, courtesy of my invisible friend the Sicilian Prince. I merely halved his original recipe. His process makes more sense to me than the more popular Cook’s Country version, so I’ll stick with the Sicilian Prince, thanks.
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup warm water (not hot)
1 1/2 cups (8 1/4 ounces) bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 pints grape tomatoes
olive oil to coat your roasting dish (I use a large rectangular one)
2 slices sweet onion
4 cloves garlic, whole, peeled
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Roast for 15 minutes. Use tongs or a spatula to move everything around, then roast for 15 more minutes. Ladle tomatoes into a colander, pressing down to squeeze out the extra liquid. After 15 minutes have passed, your work should be done. That extra delicious tomato and olive oil liquid you just strained–it’s your treat. Enjoy it like a bowl of soup. Or if you’re feeling generous, share it with someone you love and a nice, crusty bread.
The rest of the pizza
fresh garlic, 2 cloves, please (optional)
3 tablespoons shredded Pecorino Romano
slices of pepperoni
more olive oil
Now it’s time to put the pizza together. See how your oven is conveniently preheated to 450 degrees F? Just leave it there.
Generously coat a stainless steel baking sheet with olive oil. Start spreading out the dough in the pan. I’ll be honest, my goal was to make a circle. Somehow, a heart began to form, so I ran with it. Given my love for good food in general and pizza specifically, it felt like it was meant to be. You can make a rectangle if you wish.
Give the top of the pizza a good splash of olive oil across the top to coat. Evenly place the tomatoes and onions over the dough. Squeeze the roasted garlic. Slice fresh mozzarella and layer over the tomatoes. Tuck in slices of pepperoni as you see fit. Snip fresh basil all over the pie. Crush a bit of rosemary, too. Press two fresh cloves of garlic and distribute as evenly as you can across the top.
If you have a pizza stone, place the baking sheet directly on top of the stone on the lowest rack of the oven. If not, just put the baking sheet in the oven on the lowest rack. Bake for about 20 minutes or till your pizza is nice and golden brown. Slice and enjoy!