We adore pizza. When The Pizza Bible came across our desk, we were ecstatic to take 11-time world Champion Tony Gemignani's Master Class in all things pizza. Not only are we experts now, we're making it in nine different regional styles. From Chicago deep-dish to cracker-thin, the book's spectrum is wide and wonderful, with something to suit every mood and occasion. If you've ever wanted to make pizzeria-style pizza at home and succeed at it— you absolutely must check it out.
This nontraditional Sicilian is my own creation, and it’s a big seller at my takeout Slice House. The purple potatoes need to soak for a full hour to remove some of their starch, so start them soaking when you preheat the oven. They’ll get a bit paler as they cook, but they still add a cool splash of color. For this pizza, I like smoked pancetta, a northern Italian specialty also known as pancetta affumicata. It’s a bit harder to find than regular pancetta, which is cured but not smoked. Smoked pancetta is fully cooked and has a mild, sweet-smoky flavor. It doesn’t crisp when it bakes on top of the pizza. Buy it sliced, like bacon, and freeze the slices for about 20 minutes to make cutting it easier. If you can’t find it, substitute a good thick-cut smoked bacon.
RECIPE: Purple Potato and Pancetta Pizza
Yields 1 12 by 18-inch pizza; 12
parbaked Sicilian Dough (see accompanying recipes)
ounces (115 grams) small purple potatoes (about 3), about 1-1/2 inches in diameter
3/4 cup (120 grams) Basil Pesto (see accompanying
recipe), at room temperature
have turned off the oven after parbaking the dough, reheat it to 450°F for at
least 1 hour.
oven heats, using a mandoline, cut the potatoes into paper thin slices and drop
them into a bowl of very cold salted water. Let soak for 30 minutes, drain, and
repeat with a new batch of salted water. Drain again and dry on paper towels.
cut the pancetta into lardons (matchsticks) about 1 inch long and 1/8 inch wide
and thick. Don’t worry about cutting them perfectly; a bit of irregularity is
more appealing. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta,
lower the heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, until
most of the fat is rendered and the pancetta is partially cooked. Set aside
mozzarella in the center of the dough and use your fingertips to spread it
evenly over the top, leaving a 3/4-inch border on all sides. Scatter the garlic
over the cheese. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer across the top, and
distribute the pancetta over the potatoes.
pan on the top stone and bake for 8 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees,
transfer it to the bottom stone, and bake for 5 minutes. Taste a potato slice.
If it isn’t tender, return the pizza to the top stone to bake for 1 minute,
until the potatoes are tender. 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.
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.
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) and make 3
evenly spaced cuts across the width of the pizza (to make 4 strips of equal
width), to make 12 squares. Hold the piece of feta over the pizza and crumble
it evenly over the top. Finish with a sprinkling of the rosemary and serve with
the pesto in a bowl on the side.
(30 grams) pine nuts, lightly toasted and cooled
1-1/4cups (280 grams) olive oil, plus more if needed
cup (80 grams) grated Parmesan cheese
teaspoons (14 grams) agave syrup
teaspoons (10 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice
(1.5 grams) fine sea salt
(.5 grams) freshly ground black pepper
of the basil in a blender. Add the garlic, pine nuts, and oil and blend to
combine. Scrape down the sides of the jug. Add the remaining basil along with
the cheese, agave syrup, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and blend until smooth,
stopping and scraping down the sides as necessary.
pesto into a bowl. If you would like a thinner pesto, mix in additional oil.
pesto immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Dough with Starter
39 ounces (1.1 kilograms )
grams (1 teaspoon) active dry yeast
grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) warm water (80°F to 85°F)
grams (4-1/2 cups) flour with 13 to 14 percent protein, preferably All Trumps, or
Pendleton Flour Mills
grams (1-1/2 tablespoons) diastatic malt
grams (1-1/4 cups) ice water
grams Poolish (see accompanying recipes)
grams (2-3/4 teaspoons) fine sea salt
grams (1/2 tablespoon) extra virgin olive oil
oil, for coating the pan
yeast in a small bowl, add the warm water, and whisk vigorously for 30 seconds.
The yeast should dissolve in the water and the mixture should foam. If it
doesn’t and the yeast granules float, the yeast is “dead” and should be
discarded. Begin again with a fresh amount ofyeast and
the flour and malt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
mixer running on the lowest speed, pour in most of the ice water, reserving
about 2 tablespoons, followed by the yeast-water mixture. Pour the reserved
water into the yeast bowl, swirl it around to dislodge any bits of yeast stuck
to the bowl, and add to the mixer. Mix for about 15 seconds, stop the mixer,
and add the poolish.
to mix the dough at the lowest speed for about 1 minute, until most of the
dough comes together around the hook. Stop the mixer. Use your fingers to pull
away any dough clinging to the hook, and scrape the sides and bottom of the
bowl with a bowl scraper or rubber spatula.
salt and mix on the lowest speed for 1 minute to combine.
mixer, pull the dough off the hook, and add the extra virgin oil. Mix the dough
for 1 to 2 minutes, stopping the mixer from time to time to pull the dough off
the hook and scrape down the sides of the bowl, until all of the oil is
absorbed. The dough won’t look completely smooth.
half sheet pan with a film of olive oil. Using the bowl scraper, scrape the
dough onto the prepared pan. The dough will be extremely sticky—too sticky to
with wet hands, stretch and fold the dough (see Stretch-and- Fold Method, page
pan with a damp dish towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rest at room
temperature for 20 minutes.
dough cutter to loosen the dough and move it to the scale. Weigh the dough,
adjusting the quantity of dough as necessary for the recipe. You will need 35
ounces (990 grams) for making any of the pizzas.
dough into a ball or balls and return the ball(s) to the oiled sheet pan
(spacing them 3 inches apart if you have made 2 balls). Wrap the pan airtight
with a double layer of plastic wrap, sealing the wrap well under the pan. Put
the pan in a level spot in the refrigerator and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.
gram (one-third of1/8teaspoon) active dry
yeast or 0.36 gram fresh yeast, broken into small pieces
grams (3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) cold tap water
grams (1/4cup plus 2 tablespoons) flour
used in dough recipe
yeast in a small bowl, add the water, and whisk vigorously for 30 seconds. The
mixture should bubble on top. If it doesn’t and the yeast granules float, the
yeast is “dead” and should be discarded. Begin again with a fresh amount of
yeast and water.
flour and stir well with a rubber spatula to combine. The consistency will be
quite thick, resembling a thick pancake batter.
down the sides of the bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let sit at
room temperature for 18 hours. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to cool slightly
If you are
not using the starter right away, you can store it in the refrigerator, though
I suggest keeping it for no more than 8 hours. Bring to cool room temperature
Parbaking Sicilian Dough:
1 (35-ounce/990-gram) ball Sicilian Dough
1/4 cup (60 grams) olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Remove the dough ball from the refrigerator
and leave wrapped at room temperature
until the dough warms to 50°F to 55°F. This should take 1 to 2 hours.
Pour the oil into the center of a
well-seasoned 12 by 18-inch steel Sicilian pan.
The dough is very sticky, so the easiest way
to remove it from the sheet pan is to hold the sheet pan upside down over the
Sicilian pan and use a bowl scraper to
release the dough, letting it fall into the pan. Using the bowl scraper, flip
the dough over to coat both sides with the oil.
Using flat, fully extended fingers of both
hands, press the dough outward in all directions, extending it toward the
corners to make an even layer. The dough may be stretched toward the corners.
If you work gently, the dough should
stretch without tearing Don’t worry if the dough doesn’t reach the corners. Set,
uncovered, in a warm spot and let rest for 30 minutes.
After resting, the dough is ready to push
outward a second time. It will not be degassed, so use a light touch to push
the dough, rather than pulling it, repositioning it in the pan as needed to achieve
an even thickness and to reach to the corners.
Let the dough rest again (still uncovered) for
1-1/2 to 2 hours, until it has risen almost to
the rim of the pan. The timing will depend on the temperature of the room. At
this point, do not touch or press on the dough again, even if it has pulled
away from the edges, or it may not rise properly.
Meanwhile, set up the oven with two pizza
stones or baking steels and preheat to 450°F for 1 hour. While the dough is
rising, prepare the toppings for the pizza as directed in each recipe.
Keeping the pan level, gently set it on the
top stone and bake for 7 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and transfer it to
the bottom stone. Bake for another 7 minutes, until the top of the crust is a
rich golden brown.
Remove the pan from the oven and use a wide
metal spatula to lift a side of the crust to see if it is sticking to the pan.
If it is, drizzle a little oil around the
sides of the pan to help loosen it. Now run the spatula around the edges
and under the entire crust to be sure it isn’t sticking and has completely
released from the pan.
Take the crust out of the pan and let rest on
a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes
or up to 2 hours (for longer storage, see note).
It is not necessary to wash the pan or add more
oil to it. But if any bits of dough are stuck to the pan, remove them.
When ready to finish the pizza, if you have
turned off the oven, preheat it to 450°F for 1 hour. Return the parbaked crust
to the pan before topping and baking.
Note on Longer Storage of Parbaked
Sicilian Dough: The parbaked crust can be held for up to 10 hours. To keep it
moist, wrap it in a large plastic bag and tie securely. Clean and reoil the pan
To stretch and fold the dough, first
put it on an oiled half sheet pan or work surface.
Stretch it out slightly to form a
rustic square measuring roughly 10 to 12
inches on a side. Visualizing the numbers on a clock, fold in 9:00 and 3:00 to
meet in the center, pressing down on the seam to lightly to seal the dough.
Repeat the folding, this time folding
in 12:00 and 6:00 to meet in the center
Fold in each of the four corners to
meet in the center and press the center to seal
Turn the dough over and repeat the
process, folding in 2:00 and 8:00, sealing the seam, and then repeating the
folding, this time folding in 10:00 and 4:00.
Fold in each of the four corners and
turn the dough over. Tuck under all four sides and use the palms of your hands
to shape and round the sides of the dough.
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.