Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I am 1/4 Italian and 3/4 all kinds of other stuff. I may not look Italian, but it shows up in other places, like my fiery temper. ;) My Grandfather, on the other hand, is 100% Italian. He is from a small town in northern Italy called Bormio. Logan and I actually had a chance to travel to Bormio a few years ago and meet my family who still lives there. It was, without a doubt, an experience of a lifetime.

Having an Italian family, I grew up eating pizza. My family's favorite pizza joints were Paisans (before it moved locations), Gino's on State Street and the GreenBush Bar in the basement of the Italian Workman's Club. Greenbush was the name of the old Italian neighborhood in Madison before they knocked everything down to build Meriter Hospital. That is where my grandfather grew up.

So I guess that was my unnecessary history lesson/intro to try and make you understand how much I LOVE authentic Italian pizza. Nothing beats the real deal in Italy, but this recipe is the closest I have come to making it myself. I really must give credit to my sister in law, Ashley, for the crust. She makes the most amazing pizza. After I had her pizza crust, I did away with my old recipes and now only make hers. The rest of the recipe, much like the crust, is actually really simple. It doesn't have to be complex to be delicious.

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup cold water
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups bread flour


Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a large bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes to proof. Stir in salt and cold water, then stir in the flour about 1 cup at a time. When the dough is together enough to remove from the bowl, knead on a floured surface until smooth, about 10 minutes. Divide into four pieces, and form each one into a tight ball. Coat the dough balls with olive oil, and refrigerate in a sealed container for at least 16 hours. Be sure to use a big enough container to allow the dough to rise. 

At this point you can either freeze the balls of dough or use them right away. I always make a double batch (makes 8 balls) and I make two for dinner (one for Logan and one for Ellis and I) and freeze six so they are ready for quick week night dinners. If using right away, remove the dough from the refrigerator one hour prior to using. If frozen, take it out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator the night before. Take it out an hour prior to using.

NOTE: This picture shows a double batch.

Homemade crust (above)
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
Fresh mozzarella balls
Fresh basil
Olive oil
Dried oregano
Cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven, with a pizza stone on the lowest rack, to 550 degrees F. Lightly dust a pizza peel with flour.

Using one ball of dough at a time, lightly dust the dough with flour, and flatten with your hands. Continue to flatten with a rolling pin until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Place the rolled out dough on the floured peel. 

Place thin slices of mozzarella over the crust, then grind a liberal amount of black pepper over it. Sprinkle with dried oregano. Randomly pour the crushed tomatoes over the pizza, leaving some empty areas. Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle a few basil leaves on top.

With a quick back and forth jerk, make sure the dough will release from the peel easily. Place the tip of the peel at the back of the preheated pizza stone, and remove peel so that the pizza is left on the stone.

Bake for 10-15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the crust begins to brown. MAKE SURE that the edges are brown and crispy before removing the pizza from the oven. The slightly crispy crust is what makes it so yummy. Remove from the oven by sliding the peel beneath the pizza. Sprinkle a few more basil leaves randomly over the pizza. Cut into wedges and serve.

After writing this post, I went back and looked at some of our pictures from our Europe trip. We went to Switzerland with Jodie and Luis and then split off and traveled Italy ourselves - Bormio, Venice, Cinque Terre, and Rome.

I pulled a few pictures from Bormio, where Logan and I got to meet my Italian relatives and eat really, REALLY good Italian pizza. :)

Going through our pictures gave me a severe case of the the travel bug. 
Who am I kidding? All I ever want to do is travel. I have so many places to go...



  1. Love this recipe! I've never been brave enough to attempt homemade pizza dough but you make it look so easy.

    I lived in Little Italy in Toronto for a few years and I could never get over how good the food was there. Just walking down my street at dinner time was agony because you could smell it wafting out in the streets from every house. I used to shovel my neighbours' pathway in exchange for homemade sauce (so worth it!)