We've gone through a lot of pizza styles and recipes here at The Pizza Lab, but I still often get asked "what's the best pizza crust recipe you know?" When I'm in the mood to fire up the grill or heat up the broiler, I might take my time and make a Neapolitan-style lean dough. If I want to relive my childhood without stepping out my apartment door, it's a New York-style. Company coming over and I want to feed a crowd without messing up the kitchen? It's Sicilian-style square pie all the way. Here's a brief run-down on the three recipes that every home pie-maker should have in their arsenal to tackle all manner of pizza-centric circumstances.
'Sicilian pizza' on Serious Eats
You've seen the all-edge brownie pan, right? The first time I saw it, one thought popped into my twisted mind: "Forget brownies. Hello, pizza!" After all, on a square pizza, be it Sicilian or grandma or Detroit-style, the corner is king followed closely by the edge. (And the center's just for jokers.)
Any pizza lover and observer of Sicilian New Years' traditions may know sfincione, the true Sicilian pizza made with onions, bread crumbs, caciocavallo cheese, and a ton of olive oil. It's pretty delicious any time of year, but especially appropriate for new years, when delicious, simple, hand-held, booze-spongey foods are at their apex of popularity. Not only that, but it's pretty dead-simple to make.
The contemporary pizza consumer is pretty well-versed in the language of Neapolitan pizza. We know what a wood-fired brick oven looks like, we appreciate San Marzano tomatoes and we've tasted mozzarella di bufala. We even know where to go in Naples for the most historic pizzerias on the planet. But what about other pizza styles that bare Italian pedigrees?
Sicilian Thing owner Paul Wanushek has more than 30 years of pizza-making experience, including being the first pizza-maker at the famed Bronx Pizza, where he worked for ten years before opening his own shop in 2007. Sicilian Thing specializes in Sicilian and New York–style pizzas, either by the slice or the whole pie. The shop delivers, but dining in has its privileges: Beer is cheap, there's always a few slices of cheesecake from The Incredible Cheesecake Company, and you can use the "special fork" to eat your pizza (more on that later).
In January 2010, The Star Ledger touted Mr. Bruno's Pizzeria of Lyndhurst, NJ to have the best Sicilian slice in the state. Anthony, Joseph, and Lenny Livreri, the current proprietors, bought this local favorite a couple of years ago from their uncle-in-law Steve Bruno, who opened the original pizzeria two storefronts down in the late 1960s.
When you enter Santa Cruz via the famed Pacific Coast Highway, you're greeted by a huge mural on the side of Upper Crust Pizza. The painting showcases Santa Cruz's beach with Upper Crust's building on the left, complete with a mini-version of the mural, which shows the beach and a tiny Upper Crust building with a mural on the side...It's the Droste effect in pizzeria form. I urge you to venture inside: Santa Cruz may be a laid back beach town, but Upper Crust's Sicilian slice is some hefty, serious stuff.
The soft crust is the main appeal of this slice. It's blessed with an excellent hole structure, so even though it's quite thick, it felt almost weightless.