When discussing pizza most people automatically assume that Sicilian-style means a square pie with thick, chewy dough. The traditional pizzas of Sicily are square, but this is where the similarities with their U.S. counterparts end. Sicilian pizza, or sfincione, is not a saucy, cheesy pie—it's a thick dough topped with slowly cooked onions and tomatoes, lots of melted anchovies and plenty of oregano.
For our first seafood dish from La Cucina I've chosen this Sicilian Pizza recipe. It's a great one for entertaining since it can be served warm or at room temperature, as a cocktail-hour snack or an impromptu lunch for guests. An added bonus is that most of the ingredients are already sitting in the pantry.
I made this Sicilian pizza for a Sunday night holiday party, my thought being that it was simple enough to put together, easy to transport, and big enough to feed a crowd.
I mixed up the dough and left it to proof beside the oven. The dough rose to double its size in a little less than an hour, thanks to the heat from the cookies I had baking in the oven. I slowly cooked the onions and tomatoes while the dough was rising, and this drawn-out cooking caramelized them to the point of being sweet enough that it seemed as though I added sugar. Being an anchovy enthusiast, I added many more than the six mentioned in the recipe, layered with a slight dusting of Parmigiano-Reggiano. On went the tomato-onion mixture, a little more cheese, and a healthy dose of oregano.
I baked the pizza until the onions on top just began to char, cooled it to a temperature that was cool enough to transport, and made my way to the party. The pizza was a perfect party snack, cut into bite-sized pieces. It was chewy, salty, and had that savory quality that only anchovies can bring to the table.
Win La Cucina
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of La Cucina to give away this week.
- Yield:1 pizza
- For the dough:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water
- For the seasoning (the conza):
- 3 medium onions, sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the pan
- 6 plum tomatoes, peeled
- 2 garlic cloves
- 6 anchovies, boned and chopped, or as desired
- 1/2 pound cheese (caciocavallo or, in its absence, pecorino Romano) thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
Form a well with the flour, add the yeast and it's water, a dash of salt, and enough additional water to make a soft dough (3/4 to 1 cup). Knead until the dough becomes solid and homogeneous, then form into a ball, cover, and let rise for several hours.
Prepare the conza: Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over low heat and add the onions. Cover the pan to create steam and keep the onions from darkening. Add the tomatoes and whole garlic cloves. Continue cooking until the sauce is fragrant and dense. Remove and discard the garlic cloves.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Make a layer of dough about 2 inches high on the pan. Push into the dough as many pieces of anchovy as desired; also push in some of thin slices of cheese.
Cover with the conza and sprinkle with cheese and oregano. Generously drizzle with more olive oil and bake for approximately 15 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the dough is crisp on the bottom.