When folks ask me for restaurant recommendations in SF, I generally point them in one of two directions - Italian or Mexican food. And by Italian food, I generally just mean pizza. Sure if they have a tasty salad I'll try that, or meatballs to start, but pizza always trumps pasta in my book.
San Francisco has tons of great pizza options so I've never really felt the need to master the art of the pie at home. The few attempts I have made end up lacking that chewy crust that only an 800 degree oven can deliver. Until recently I'd given up my ambitions to tackle at-home pizza until I received the October issue of Bon Appetit.
LOOK at that cover picture. How could you not be motivated to try that recipe?
I recently gave Grandma Pie a go and I was really happy with the results. For those of you that have had Sicilian style pizza, that is very close to what Grandma Pie is. It's closest carbo cousin is focaccia, except it's slightly more dense.
My favorite part about this recipe is that the topping combinations are endless. I dug through my cabinet and gathered available ingredients - Use whatever!
As a fair warning, the most important ingredient for Grandma Pie is time. The pizza dough recipe is super simple, however you have to let it rest rest rest!
Grandma-Style Pizza Dough
Ingredients (1 large pizza)
- 1 envelope active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
- 1 1/2 cup warm water (105-110 degrees F)
- 2 Tbsp. olive o il
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
Combine the active dry yeast and 1 1/2 cup water in a large bowl, let stand until yeast starts to foam, about 10 minutes.
Mix in 2 Tbsp. olive oil, then 2 cups all purpose flour and 2 tsp. kosher salt. Add another 2 cups all purpose flour, a cup at a time, mixing until incorporated and a shaggy dough forms.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until soft, smooth, and elastic, 10-12 minutes. I used my stand mixer up until this point. I attempted to use the dough hook to knead but it wasn't quite doing the trick.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill 24 hours.
After 24 hours chilling.
Congratulations! You made it. Guess what, you have a bit more waiting to do so plan accordingly. Now that your dough has chilled, take it out of the fridge.
Coat a 18x13" rimmed baking sheet with 1/2 cup olive oil (or less if you think you can swing it. Gently and gradually stretch dough until it reaches the edges of baking sheet. If the dough springs back or is stiff to work with, let it rest 10 minutes before continuing.
Cover dough on baking sheet tightly with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place (but not too warm - around 70 degrees F is ideal) until it is puffed and full of air bubbles, 30-40 minutes.
While you're waiting, grab a pre-made pizza sauce or whip up this handy one from Bon Appetit. It's super simple and will literally take you less than 5 minutes.
Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce
- One 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 anchovies
- 2 garlic cloves
- 6 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 cup basil leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
First, drain the can of tomatoes. In hindsight, I may have skipped this step but it still turned out great. Put all of the ingredients above into a blender or food processor and combine until mostly smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Voila!
When it came time to put toppings on my pizza, I just eyeballed quantities. There is no secret formula. As Bon Appetit says - when it comes to toppings, restraint is key. It's all about ratio.
Baking the PIzza
Before you make one more move, begin preheating your oven. Turn it up to 525 degrees F, or as high as it will go. BA recommends placing your baking rack in the lower third of your oven.
Tasty Topping Combos:
- Buratta + Cherry Tomatoes + Basil + Balsamic Reduction
- Mozzarella + Fennel Sausage + Pickled Jalapeños
- Mozzarella + Prosciutto + Arugula
- Provolone + Red Onion + Black Olives
- Mozzarella + Fennel + Spicy Soppressata
- Roasted Cauliflower + Ricotta + Breadcrumbs (no sauce)
- Marinated Tuscan Kale + Ricotta + Mozzarella (no sauce)
- 1 1/2 cup fresh tomato sauce
- 1 red onion, caramelized with balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- 1 cup sweet & hot cherry peppers
- 4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
- 12-oz goat cheese
- Healthy shaving of parmesan cheese (estimated 1/2 cup)
Bake your pie until it's golden brown and crispy on the bottom and sides. That should take you anywhere from 20-30 minutes depending on your oven.
Isn't she beautiful? This pizza is no joke - one pan of pizza can easily feed up to 6 hungry folks. Next time Grandma Pizza makes an appearance at home, it may be as an appetizer at a cocktail party.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Bon Appetit!