Homemade Pizza. It’s by far my #1 favorite food. Anything with cheese. Anything with bread.
When you combine the two, you have my undivided attention.
I grew up on my Sicilian grandmother’s homemade pizza. With homemade sauce.
She would make pizza on the days she was making her homemade bread. The whole family would gather in the evening just to get slices of the pizza (she had begun early in the morning to make the bread and pizza dough and fried bread dough, too. Oh, how the list goes on).
Her pizza was long and a bit thick, made on very large baking sheets. Although I never saw her actually making them as a kid, I always noticed that there was little sauce, little cheese and the dough was always perfectly chewy. She judiciously cut every piece herself with large black and silver kitchen shears– my first memories of the utilization of scissors used to cut food. Judiciously because the pizza was precious- it was laborious to make and I know she wanted to ensure that everyone in our large family had a filling taste of the way she showed us love.
Nothing in the world has ever replaced the smell of her bread and pizza dough. As I lifted the square slice (cut in squares by those famous scissors), the smell completely encompassed my soul and began my love of food. Real food. Real pizza.
That’s a very hard act to follow.
Not many people or restaurants have ever fully satisfied my craving for Nonna’s pizza. She doesn’t make them anymore, nor did I ever really learn her recipe. Over phone calls to her during college, I caught a glimpse of what she did to make it, but so much was lost in translation.
Ever since then I’ve been on a quest of my own to replicate (though that can never truly happen) a pizza dough tradition of my own that honors my grandmother’s love of bread, of pizza and of feeding her family with lots of both.
Here’s my experience of mixing the old (fashioning homemade dough) with the new (a lovely new pizza pan I’m going to tell you all about).