Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl's Top 5 Grandma Pizza Recipes

Yum. Pizza.

Off The Menu with Dara Grumdahl
October 25, 2019 - 10:46 am

(Getty Images / gregory_lee)

We make a lot of fuss in food-world about perfectly thin, airy pizza crusts—the kind you really can only get from impossibly hot professional ovens. But what about good old fashioned grandma pizzas? That’s what we Americans call the kind of loose dough, baked-on-a-baking-sheet pizzas that Italian grandmas from Southern Italy seem to know how to makebetter than anyone. These are in fact wonderful pizzas, and pretty easy to master—and downright thrilling after you have mastered them. Why? Because they’re just homey and delicious, just the thing to gather the family around. And here are my top five!

Cast-Iron Skillet Focaccia with Tomatoes and Olives
I’m not saying this focaccia recipe is idiot proof—but I kind of am. You make it in a cast-iron skillet, and it’s almost impossible to goof up, to overcook, to go wrong with. If you’re pizza-nervous, I say start with focaccia. And if you’re wondering, can I throw mozzarella on there towards the end? Yes, yes you can.

Serious Eats New York City Spicy Sicilian Pizza
The Serious Eats crust is just right—two tablespoons of olive oil in the very wet dough, and then another half-cup for the pan. If that sounds like too much, it’s not. The secret to a grandma pizza is a wet dough and lots of oil. It crisps up into a beautiful thing. 

Tony Gemignani’s Brooklyn Sicilian Pie
The one thing most of the internet recipes I see seem to neglect is par-baking. That’s how most of the places I grew up with did it, because with such a big, wet dough if you want the crust to cook all the way through you need to give it a boost. If you’re a visual learner, this little video will tell you everything you need to know.

And good old Andrew Zimmern printed the whole recipe from Gemignani’s book, the Pizza Bible, so you can read it in all the glorious detail (link above in bold). Thanks Andrew!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust (for you gluten-and grain-avoiders)
Let’s just set this right here—you don’t have to eat flour or gluten to tangle with grandma pizzas. This untraditional crust doesn’t even have any flour at all.  It’s all cauliflower and cheese—just be sure to use parchment paper or it will really stick. 

All the Grandma Pies
Bon Appetit magazine did one of the all-time great magazine stories of my life time in 2014, and I’m so happy it lives on the internet. Not only does it go into the details of the basic Grandma pie, it has all the good variations—like hot and sweet sausage and fennel, or black olive and provolone.

Where to start? With the classic mozzarella one, of course!  (Click here)

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