Sicilian Style Thick-Crust Pizza Recipe

Sicilian-style pizza gets a bad rap: At many American pizzerias, these thick slabs baked in baking sheets are just larger masses of the same dough that’s used for round thin-crust pies. That means the crust is bready and dense, lacks textural contrast, and offers little in the way of interesting flavor.

But good Sicilian-style thick-crust pizza is something else entirely. It features a tight, even, cake-like crumb that’s pale yellow, almost creamy. The underside is delicately crisp. Spread over the top is a concentrated layer of tomato sauce, followed by a blanket of cheese.

In order to create our ideal Sicilian pie, we used a mixture of all-purpose flour and traditional semolina. The latter, a flour variety made from durum wheat, is the same type used to make many Italian pastas and breads and is the source of the crust’s pale yellow color; slightly sweet, rich flavor; and fine crumb.

We used a generous amount of olive oil in the dough to tenderize it, cold-fermented the dough to let flavors develop and prevent large bubbles from forming, and then rolled it out and weighed it down with another baking sheet during the second rise to keep the crumb even and tight.

Finally, we topped it with a long- cooked tomato sauce and a combination of mozzarella and Parmesan, which stood up to the thick crust. Anchovies give the sauce depth without a discernible fishy taste; if you decide not to use them, add an additional 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt.


  • 2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semolina flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 2/3 cups (13 1/3 ounces) water, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated fine (1 cup)
  • 12 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (3 cups)


For the dough

1- Whisk all-purpose flour, semolina flour, and yeast together in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk water, oil, and sugar in 4-cup liquid measuring cup until sugar has dissolved.

2- Using dough hook on low speed, slowly add water mixture to flour mixture and mix until cohesive dough starts to form and no dry flour remains, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 10 minutes.

3- Add salt to dough and knead on medium-low speed until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, about 8 minutes. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball, about 30 seconds.

4- Place dough seam side down in lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 2 days.

For the sauce and toppings

5- Process tomatoes, sugar, and salt in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Heat 1⁄4 cup oil and garlic in medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is fragrant and just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.

6- Stir in tomato paste, anchovies, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce measures 2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to bowl and let cool completely before using.

7- One hour before baking, adjust oven rack to middle position, set baking stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Spray rimmed baking sheet (including rim) with vegetable oil spray, then coat bottom of sheet with remaining oil.

8- Press down on dough to deflate. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and dust with flour. Press and roll dough into 18 by 13-inch rectangle.

9- Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it onto prepared sheet, fitting dough into corners. Cover loosely with greased plastic, then place second rimmed baking sheet on top and let dough rise for 1 hour.

10- Remove top sheet and plastic. Using your fingertips, gently press dough into corners of sheet. Using back of spoon or ladle, spread sauce in even layer over surface of dough, leaving 1⁄2-inch border around edges. Sprinkle Parmesan evenly over sauce, followed by mozzarella.

11- Place pizza in oven and reduce oven temperature to 450 degrees. Bake until bottom crust is evenly browned and cheese is bubbly and partially browned, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let pizza cool in sheet on wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer to cutting board with metal spatula. Cut into squares and serve.

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