Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pizza Sfincione

Have I mentioned I LOVE King Arthur Flour Baker's Banter Blog? There are sooooo many good recipes on that site and the writers/bakers are so talented and entertaining. Every recipe comes with very detailed instructions, pictures and tips for successful baking.

Most recently I wanted to try a new pizza recipe I found on the blog. It was for Pizza Sfincione, a traditional Sicilian pizza commonly served on New Year's Day, and also throughout the year in little roadside carts. It has a spongy chewy crust, a layer of yummy cheeses, a layer of tomato-ey toppings and then a layer of crispy breadcrumbs. Yum! Yum! It was as scrumptious as I had imagined.

If you are looking for a break from traditional wedges of thin crust pepperoni this is the pizza recipe you should try. The big beafy squares will satisfy your pizza cravings and give you a traditional taste of Sicily.
Picture courtesy of KAF Baker's Banter

Pizza Sfincione (Source: KAF Baker's Banter)

3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons to 1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water*

*Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.

2 large sweet onions
28-ounce can chopped or diced tomatoes
1 large green pepper, diced (optional)
1/2 pound sausage, browned (optional)
2 cups shredded mozzarella
4 ounces provolone, shredded
3/4 to 1 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
3 cups coarse dried bread crumbs, such as Panko
6 tablespoons olive oil

1) To make the crust: Combine all of the ingredients and mix and knead to make a smooth, soft dough, using a stand mixer, bread machine, or your hands.

2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or large 8-cup measure (or leave it in the bread machine), and let it rise till it's very puffy, about 90 minutes.

3) While the dough is rising, prepare the toppings. Start by peeling and slicing the onions and peppers, and frying them with a bit of olive oil till they're golden brown. This will take about 20 minutes. Midway through, add salt and sugar to taste, if desired; about 1 tablespoon sugar will heighten their flavor.

4) Add the tomatoes to the fried onions. Simmer and stir for a couple of minutes. If the sauce seems overly liquid, continue to cook till it's firmed up a bit. You don't want it totally dry, like scrambled eggs, but neither do you want it swimming in liquid. Use your judgment. Turn off the heat, mix in the browned sausage, and let the mixture cool while the dough rises.

5) Stir together the bread crumbs and oil. Set it aside.

6) Spray a large rimmed baking sheet (a 13" x 18" half sheet pan is perfect) with non-stick vegetable oil spray. Drizzle it with olive oil, tilting the pan so the oil spreads out a bit.

7) Gently deflate the risen dough, and stretch it into an oval in your hands. Plop the oval onto the baking sheet, and press it towards the edges. When it starts to fight back, walk away for 15 minutes. When you return, you should be able to press it to the edges and nearly into the corners. If you can't, give it another short rest, and try again. You want the dough to cover as much of the pan's bottom as possible (without making yourself too crazy about it).

8) Cover the dough, and let it rise till puffy, about 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F. (Don't expect much rising here. A few bubbles was all I got.)

9) Uncover the dough, and sprinkle it with the shredded mozzarella and provolone. Then spread the tomato/onion sauce over the cheese.

10) Top with the Parmesan, then the bread crumbs.

11) Bake the pizza for 35 minutes, or until the crust and crumbs are brown. Remove it from the oven, and serve it hot or warm. Hint: to prevent a soggy bottom crust, cut the pizza in half crosswise, then lift each half onto a cooling rack. Cut individual slices with a pair of scissors.

For more great recipes head over to Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays or Tuesdays at the Table. And if you're really hungry take a look at King Arthur Flour's blog too.


heartnsoulcooking said...

AWESOME!!! recipe for pizza and the combination of cheeses is GREAT!!!
Come by and visit so you can enter my giveaway.

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

You are right. That pizza looks pretty darn good! Thanks for the recipe and linking to TMTT.