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Spicy pepperoni Sicilian pizza

Everyone loves a spicy pizza! Complete with a homemade Sicilian pizza dough and spicy sauce, this delicious dinner is a great option for Friday night. Plus, it's way fresher and way more tasty than store-bought. 




  • 1 half sheet pan (900g) Sicilian Grandma dough (see page 116), proofed and ready to top
  • 250 grams (about 9 ounces) low-moisture mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 120 grams (1/2 cup) Spicy Grandma Sauce (page 56)
  • 50 grams (about 1-3/4 ounces) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated
  • 2 pinches dried wild Sicilian oregano, stems removed
  • 60 grams (about 2 ounces) pepperoni, sliced (about 25 pieces)
  • 40 grams (3 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil, in a squeeze bottle

Sicilian Grandma dough:

  • 900 grams high-protein flour
  • 100 grams whole-grain flour, preferable freshly milled
  • 30 grams of sea salt
  • 720 grams (3 cups) water, at 65°F (18°C)
  • 100 grams starter (3 to 5 hours after feeding it at room temperature)
  • 60 grams extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling pans

Spicy Grandma sauce:

  • 1 (794-gram/28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes (preferably Bianco DiNapoli), drained
  • 4 grams (1 teaspoon) kosher salt
  • 110 grams (1/2 cup) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 40 grams (about 1-1/2 ounces) yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 30 grams (5 cloves) garlic, chopped
  • 14 grams (about 4) fresh red chiles (bird’s-eye or similar), thinly sliced
  • 8 grams (about 3) dried Calabrian chiles
  • 10 grams (about 1/3 ounce) basil, chopped



  1. Preheat the oven with pizza stones to 475°F (250°C).
  2. Cover the dough with the mozzarella in a single layer. Using a two-ounce (60-ml) ladle, completely cover the mozzarella with the tomato sauce.
  3. Spread half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano evenly over the sauce and sprinkle with the oregano. Place the pepperoni evenly on the pizza, starting from the outside in. Remember: pepperoni migration is unavoidable! Don’t be surprised if the slices aren’t where you left them. Using a squeeze bottle, drizzle with the olive oil.
  4. Bake the pizza in its pan directly on the pizza stone for 15 to 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has begun to brown.
  5. Remove the pizza from the pan with an offset spatula and transfer to a cooling rack. Top with the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano. Allow to cool for five minutes before cutting into eight slices.

Sicilian Grandma dough:

  1. Weigh all the ingredients in separate containers. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours and salt and mix thoroughly with clean hands.
  2. In another large mixing bowl, combine the water and starter.
  3. Create a crater in the flour and pour the liquids in the center.
  4. Begin mixing with your dominant hand. Start in the center of the bowl and mix in a clockwise fashion until the dough comes together, at this point add 60 grams of olive oil and continue to mix until the dough is fully incorporated. Stop mixing, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside for 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. Mix by stretching and folding the dough onto itself for about six minutes.
  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container with a lid (or a bowl tightly covered with plastic wrap) and let it rest at room temperature. Stretch and fold the dough for one minute every 30 minutes for three hours (six times).
  7. Rest at room temperature (covered) for 30 minutes.
  8. Using about 40 grams of olive oil, lightly oil two or three baking pans.
  9. Lightly flour your hands, and using a dough cutter and scale, portion then shape the dough (three 700-gram or two 900-gram pieces) into rectangles by folding the edges into themselves.
  10. Transfer each dough to the center of a pre-oiled baking pan. Cover each pan with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for one hour.
  11. Lift the dough and press out any air from the bottom of the pan. Carefully stretch the dough to the pan's edges. Using your fingertips, gently dimple the entire length of the dough. Cover and let proof at room temperature for 6-12 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
  12. Par-bake or top and bake according to your chosen recipe's instructions. Just add ten minutes to the bake time if you skip the par-bake.

Spicy Grandma sauce:

  1. Put the tomatoes in a large bowl. Using your dominant hand, crush each tomato into walnut-sized pieces. Season with the salt and 55 grams (1/4 cup) of the olive oil. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
  2. In a medium sauté pan, heat the remaining 55 grams (1/4 cup) oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to brown, about ten minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional two minutes, or until the garlic is soft.
  3. Add the fresh red chiles and Calabrian chiles and continue to cook. Raise the heat to high, add the tomatoes, and cook for five minutes, stirring vigorously. Add a bit more olive oil if the mixture begins sticking.
  4. Add the basil, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Transfer to a container, cool, and refrigerate until ready to use. Use in first two days or freeze.

Recipe and image excerpted from Pizza Czar: Recipes and Know-How from a World-Traveling Pizza Chef by Anthony Falco. Abrams Books, 2021. Photographs copyright 2021 by Evan Sung, Molly Tavoletti, and Anthony Falco.

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