Sicilian pizza growing up was just part of what we did as kids. You could always get a regular slice and fold it in half and have the grease run down your hand, forearm and onto your elbow. That was glorious and was just a ton of fun to share with your buddies. BUT, there was always room for a Sicilian slice and preferably the corner.
I don’t recall when the corner slice came into my life or why but it was the one piece of the Sicilian pie that you wanted. You would almost get into fist fights with your buddies over this wonderful and magical corner of pizza dough, cheese, red gravy and every now and again pepperoni. I remember coating my Sicilian in garlic powder and devouring it. It never really lasted that long and always made you want more, but typically you had no money since the Sicilian cost more than the regular slice. Why? No clue since it was all the same ingredients but it always cost more.
Last week I was going down memory lane and thinking about Sicilian slices and wondered how hard it could be to make. I have made plenty of pizza in my day but never a Sicilian slice and forget (fuhhget about it) ever finding a good one here in Dallas. It doesn’t exist, just like Lance’s Tour De France titles (too soon?) So I figured I would make some as it was nothing more than bread with red gravy and vegetables. My biggest concern is that it would come out more like focaccia than Sicilian pizza.
With my new cuisinart making dough for bread or for pizza has become super simple. I’m still working with it for my tortillas but it is getting there and last week I made a sweet potato, avocado and red kidney bean burrito that says I have gotten close. So when I started making the dough I had plans to make a bowl of cereal if it didn’t come out well. As the dough began to proof I knew I had a winner on my hands and when it came out of the oven and I tasted that hot toasty slightly burnt crust I was that kid back in the Bronx devouring that garlicky sicilian slice. Lucky for you I have the recipe and here it is:
Vegan Sicilian Style Pizza
Ingredients: 3 1/2 c Whole Wheat Flour, 2 tsp kosher salt, 1 packet yeast, 1c Unsweetened Apple Sauce, 1/2c Warm Water, 1 26oz Container Pomi Chopped Tomatoes, 1 carrot stick, 1 Tbsp Honey, Your Favorite Vegetables, 2 Tbsp Olive Oil, 1 cup onion (chopped), 1 bunch basil (ripped by hand)
- In food processor or stand mixer combine flour, yeast, salt and applesauce.
- As the food processor begins to combine slowly pour in the warm water through the top and allow the machine to create the dough.
- As the dough forms make sure there is no dry flour on the sides and you will know dough is ready when it begins to pull away from the side but is still tacky.
- Rub 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a 13x8in rimmed backing sheet. (If you want Chicago style then use a round pan)
- Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and make sure top of dough has oil on it. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow to proof for a minimum of 2 hours (I allowed mine to proof 4 hours.)
- After dough has been covered put a pot on low heat and add the onion, Pomi tomatoes, carrots and honey. Add in whatever spices you like that are dried but hold off until the end to add the fresh basil.
- Once the dough has risen to at least double in size remove the plastic wrap and begin to press it into the pan.
- Pull the dough so that it goes over the side a bit. Since it will retract it should settle nicely into the corners.
- Preheat your oven to 500*
- Press the center of the dough down so that you have a crust. This will help ensure that the gravy and vegetables stay on top of the dough and not slide off in the cooking process.
- Ladle the red gravy onto the dough and spread out. Use as much or as little as you like.
- Place your desired vegetables on top. I used peppers, mushrooms and asparagus.
- Put the baking sheet in the oven for 17-20 minutes. Your kitchen should smell like the best pizza joint in the Bronx.
- Pull the pizza out of the oven after it has cooked and allow to cool down for about 5 minutes before slicing.
- I used a pizza cutter and cut my pie into 8 slices.
- Serve with spinach and the same vegetables that are on top of your slice(s) and enjoy.