White Sicilian Pizza with Flaky, Pastry-Style Crust

White Pizza

I always love a good recipe challenge. So a couple of weeks ago when my Chief Culinary Consultant and I were hanging out on a Saturday (and after I had already lost about a bajillion games of NHL11 to him), and he said, “What do you think about baking something?” I eagerly shot straight up. Within seconds I started rattling off ideas… apple crisp? apple pie? cobbler? cheesecake? I’m sure I threw another 5-10 ideas out there when he said he was thinking something more along the lines of pepperoni bread or pizza. Oooh, equally good candidates. We both claim pepperoni pizza as our favorite, but he said that he once had a fabulous white pizza from a place in Greensburg, PA, Vallozzi’s, that had a thin crust that almost tasted like pie crust, and could I maybe try to duplicate it? I’d never been to the restaurant or had their pizza, but figured that I could do some research and come up with something. A couple of hours later, I pulled this pizza out of the oven and we devoured it. So, how did it compare to the one I was trying to replicate? He said the crust was almost perfectly replicated and that the pizza was awesome. Win!

White Pizza

If you look at the photo above, you can see that the crust is very flaky and really quite close to that of a pie or pastry crust. It gives the pizza great dimension and an unexpected texture compared to traditional pizzas. I ended up merging some of the key aspects of a Chicago-style deep dish crust (which typically tastes like pie crust and is buttery and flaky, but way more doughy than what I wanted) and a traditional thin crust pizza. In the end, you have a crust that includes butter, a small amount of yeast, and a short rest time (no rising).

So what about the top of the pizza? I did some Googling and found a thread talking about white pizza. Lo and behold, a former employee from Vallozzi’s shared a few tips: their crusts are par-baked prior to topping and fully cooking the pizza, and they use good provolone cheese, tomatoes, garlic powder, salt, pepper, minced garlic and basil. A quick check of the restaurant’s website noted that Romano cheese is also included. So, I put together my version – the first time I made it I had fresh basil and used that, but feel free to use your favorite fresh or dried herbs.

Where do you get your favorite pizza from?

One year ago: Neiman Marcus Cookies
Three years ago: Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

White Sicilian Pizza with Flaky, Pastry-Style Crust

Yield: Two 10-inch pizzas

Prep Time: 15 minutes (active), 30 minutes (inactive)

Cook Time: 12 to 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and dusting pizza peel
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (½ cup) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
2/3 cup warm water
½ teaspoon instant yeast

For the pizza:
Olive oil
Shredded provolone cheese (or a mozzarella/provolone mix - I used about 1½ cups per pizza)
Grated Romano cheese
Garlic powder
Dried basil
Dried oregano
Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
Garlic cloves, finely minced (I used 2 cloves per pizza)
Salt & pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (or as hot as your oven will get). If using a pizza stone, preheat it along with the oven. If not using a pizza stone, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the cubed, chilled butter and, using a pastry blender or your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it is mostly incorporated and looks like coarse sand. In a large measuring cup or small bowl, combine the warm water and instant yeast. Add to the flour mixture and, using a fork, combine until the mixture is evenly moistened. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for a minute or so until the dough comes together and is smooth. Divide the dough in two, shape into balls, cover with a damp kitchen towel, and let rest for about 30 minutes.

3. If using a pizza stone, do the shaping on a floured pizza peel, if not, do the shaping directly on the parchment-lined baking sheet (flour as needed). Take one piece of dough and shape into a 10-inch circle. I just use my hands, but you can use a rolling pin if that's easier for you, just use a light touch. With a fork, prick the surface of the dough and bake for approximately 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush with olive oil, and top with Romano cheese, garlic powder, dried basil and oregano, then top with shredded provolone cheese. Add the slices of tomato, the garlic, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and additional Romano cheese, if desired. Return to the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and begins to brown. Repeat with the second half of dough.

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98 Responses to “White Sicilian Pizza with Flaky, Pastry-Style Crust”

Comment Pages 1 2
  1. Suzanne on September 22, 2010 at 12:58 am

    wow that looks really tasty, need to try that interesting crust.

    Reply

  2. Lizzie on September 22, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Looooks AMAZING!

    Reply

  3. Katrina on September 22, 2010 at 6:11 am

    This white pizza looks amazing! I love the look of the flaky crust. Mmm.

    Reply

  4. Tabitha (From Single to Married) on September 22, 2010 at 6:41 am

    Mmmm…. this looks fantastic!

    Reply

  5. RavieNomNoms on September 22, 2010 at 8:37 am

    That looks SO delicious! Wow, great pictures and the pizza just looks outstanding!

    Reply

  6. heather on September 22, 2010 at 8:46 am

    i see the flakes, i want the flakes, i will have to make your crust! pizza’s on the weekly rotation here, so i hope to be diving into that sooner rather than later!

    cheers,

    *heather*

    Reply

  7. DesignTies on September 22, 2010 at 9:06 am

    OMG, this pizza looks and sounds amazing!! I’m a total pizza addict, and I’m always looking for ways to make a better crust. This recipe is definitely going in the “make soon” recipe file!! Thanks for sharing your creation :-)

    I still haven’t found a great take-out pizza place here in Ottawa. Montreal definitely has better pizza places, like Place Tevere. They know how to do pizza crust right!!

    Kelly

    Reply

  8. Jenny Flake on September 22, 2010 at 9:33 am

    LOVE the looks of this gorgeous pizza!

    Reply

  9. Shannon on September 22, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Wow!! That looks awesome! I can’t wait to try it. I am going to Chicago in October and I can’t wait to get some good pizza!!

    Reply

  10. Drick on September 22, 2010 at 10:41 am

    looks like you found a perfect crust and I do like the topping too

    Reply

  11. Lisa on September 22, 2010 at 11:21 am

    What a delicious looking pizza and that crust sounds fantastic.

    Reply

  12. Carolyn on September 22, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Love the “print” icon at the end of the recipe to get a printer-friendly version of the recipe. Is this new? It’s going to save me a lot of paper! Definitely going to try this yummy looking pizza soon!

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 22nd, 2010 at 7:39 pm

      Glad you’re a fan of the new print function Carolyn! I implemented it when I launched the new site redesign back in June.

      Reply

  13. Rodzilla on September 22, 2010 at 11:28 am

    this looks great, I’m really intrigued by the crust.

    Thanks for pointing out vallozzis, I just checked the menu..definitely a spot I’d like to try.

    What’s your favorite pizza spot in the burg? I reviewed Dinnette a week or so back, but I’m looking to try more.

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 22nd, 2010 at 7:41 pm

      Right now my favorite pizza is Messina’s on Middle Road in the Gibsonia/Hampton area (small, family-owned). Also love Pizza Sola in the South Side and my boyfriend is a huge fan of Aiello’s in Squirrel Hill.

      Reply

  14. Kelly on September 22, 2010 at 11:54 am

    All i can say is YUM. This crust I have to try. I love flakey crispy thin crust pizza.

    Reply

  15. notyet100 on September 22, 2010 at 11:55 am

    feel like eating this now,..

    Reply

  16. penandra on September 22, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Thanks for making this one of your earliest fall recipes! I have been checking your blog just waiting for this after the teaser you posted a week or so ago. I love the look of the crust, and can’t wait to try it (THIS weekend!!) — and I have ripe roma tomatoes in the garden, too! I started using my cast iron griddle instead of a pizza stone and heat it under the broiler before sliding the pizza onto it . . . I like the idea of par baking the crust before adding the toppings, too . . .

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 22nd, 2010 at 7:42 pm

      Oooh love the idea of using a cast iron griddle; once I get one I’m going to give it a try!

      Reply

  17. Tina from PA on September 22, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I love Vallozzi’s when I lived in Greensburg it was on of my favorite places to go .They used to have the most amazing fried zucchini it was sliced thin vertically and battered dipped. Out for this world ! I have to try this Pizza ,it looks delicious!

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 22nd, 2010 at 7:42 pm

      Tina, I’d love to hear how you think this compares! I might have to make a trip to Greensburg now to check it out.

      Reply

  18. Penny Wolf on September 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    This area (central Ohio) eats pizza on crust like a cracker. It shatters when you bite it. I prefer a thin crust but not always that thin but if it’s pizza i am trying it! DiCarlos crust for me is probably perfect. It was my Mom’s favorite and I will someday figure how to achieve it in the home kitchen.

    Reply

  19. joudie's Mood Food on September 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    This looks GOOD! Im loving this white pizza! Any slices left? :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 22nd, 2010 at 7:43 pm

      Thanks Joudie! Definitely no slices left ;-)

      Reply

  20. Megan on September 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I grew up in Greensburg, and Vallozzi’s is definitely the best white pizza… Rizzo’s is a close second. This looks fantastic, though, and I’m excited to try it! Love your website!

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 22nd, 2010 at 7:44 pm

      Small world, Megan! If you try it I’d love to hear what you think!

      Reply

  21. Katy@BlueEyedBakers on September 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    YUM! I want this for dinner tonight! Thanks so much for posting…I love all your recipes and the photos are divine!

    Reply

  22. Dina hs on September 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    That looks great I will try this next week and tell u how it turned out
    I have hopes for this crust

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 22nd, 2010 at 7:44 pm

      Please do, Dina! Enjoy!

      Reply

  23. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking on September 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Now that’s my kind of pizza! Looks marvelous… I was planning on doing pizza on Friday night, and this will certainly fit the bill for me and my picky pizza eater of a husband! ;) Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  24. Maria on September 22, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. The crust looks perfect!

    Reply

  25. Heather (Heather's Dish) on September 22, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    ooooooooooh my gosh that pizza looks OUT OF THIS WORLD!

    sorry to yell, just got a little excited :)

    Reply

  26. Tracy on September 22, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    This sounds AMAZING and I can’t wait to try it! My favorite pizza is my homemade “supreme” pizza, but when I don’t feel like cooking, we usually order from Papa Johns.

    Reply

  27. Rachel on September 22, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    That looks so good! I’m always looking for new pizza ideas. Saving this for later ;)

    Reply

  28. doreen on September 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    My computer is mad that i drooled all over it!

    Reply

  29. Jen @ How To: Simplify on September 22, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    This pizza looks great! I love the looks of the crust!

    Reply

  30. bridget {bake at 350} on September 22, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Oh.My.Goodness. TOTALLY making this!

    Reply

  31. Liz @ LBBakes on September 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Oh my – I love white pizza! That crust surely does look unique. And delicious. :)

    Reply

  32. Joanne on September 22, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    I love how you took pizza pie to it’s literal meaning. A pizza. On a pie. I guess even boys can have good ideas, SOMETIMES! :P

    Reply

  33. Renee (Kudos Kitchen) on September 22, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Your pizza looks truly incredible! I love a thin flakey crust so I appreciate your posting the recipe. Your pictures had my mouth watering too. We have two favorite pizza places we order from. One is called Sir Nicks. Their garlic lovers is fantastic. The other place is called V&V and you can’t go wrong when you order from them. They’re voted one of the top pizza places in the Chicago suburbs.

    Reply

  34. jillyan on September 22, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    I am starving right now and this looks so GOOD! Best wishes with the Pfb competiton also, I voted for your blog.

    Reply

  35. Mallory on September 22, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Could I freeze half of the dough for a later date? It is just my husband and I and we do not need two warm pizzas sitting around. :) If I can freeze half, what would be a safe time frame to do so? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 22nd, 2010 at 7:46 pm

      Hi Mallory, Yes you can freeze. Shape half of the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap then store in a freezer bag. I would say you could keep it for up to a month. Thaw it in the refrigerator then let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before shaping.

      Reply

  36. Missie on September 22, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Yum! WIsh I would have seen this before i made dinner!

    Reply

  37. Evan @swEEts on September 22, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Your crust looks perfect! I’ll be passing this along to the pizza maker in our house :)

    Reply

  38. Monica on September 22, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Oh my gosh! Can I say “droooooool”? That pizza looks amazing, I’m definitely putting it on my “to bake” list!

    Reply

  39. Lily on September 23, 2010 at 12:02 am

    That pizza looks really amazing. I am going to have to try this recipe out. It seems simple and all the ingredients are basic. Thanks!

    Reply

  40. Vibey on September 23, 2010 at 3:10 am

    Now this crust is the business! And perfect for the trusty food processor. Will make soon!

    Reply

  41. Michelle on September 23, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Gorgeous photos and delicious looking pizza!!

    Reply

  42. Amalia on September 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    That looks.To.Die.For.Oh.My.God. I need to try that ASAP.
    I get my favorite pizza from myself! I made it the otehr day for friends and they went nuts! So simple and classy (: You can see it here!: http://buttersweetmelody.wordpress.com/
    -Amalia

    Reply

  43. Maranda on September 23, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I am now officially sad that I didn’t see this post before I went to the grocery store. Good call! I’m so making this soon!

    Reply

  44. Mary Lynn on September 24, 2010 at 8:56 am

    We were looking for something different to make on game day. You just planned my menu for Steeler Sunday!

    Reply

  45. Margot on September 24, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Wow, that looks wonderful! Thanks! I had a slice of Valozzi’s pizza a while ago and it was awesome – I’m happy to be able to try to make your version.

    Reply

  46. Pretty. Good. Food. on September 24, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Mmmm, I will never get tired of pizza recipes!!!!

    Reply

  47. Patty on September 24, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    That crust sounds amazing – the whole pizza sounds and looks fabulous really – YUM. :)

    Reply

  48. Mary A on September 27, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    I made it this weekend to eat while the game was on. Bad game, but good pizza!

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 28th, 2010 at 7:25 pm

      Sorry to hear your team lost, but yay for great pizza! :)

      Reply

  49. Penandra on September 27, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Thank you, again for this great recipe! I made this last Friday and it was as good as the picture looks! Yummy! I had some pepperoni in the fridge, so I par-cooked that in the microwave and threw it on with the roma tomatoes from my garden . . . and I had some fontina cheese in the fridge, so used some of that as well. Using my cast-iron griddle, I divided the dough into thirds (rather than in half), put one ball in the freezer for later and let the other one “age” to see if the flavor improves (as it does for some other yeast breads). Last night (Sunday), I fixed Roger Ebert’s chicken and rice dish (from “Serious Eats”) and divided the ball of dough in the fridge in half and cooked it on the griddle on top of the stove for a flat bread. OMG! It was delicious with dinner! I’m also thinking this would be a great crust for a dessert pizza (with cream cheese and fresh fruit). Thanks for triggering my imagination.

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 28th, 2010 at 7:26 pm

      So glad you loved these, and thank you for sharing your modifications, I love hearing how recipes are tweaked, gives me great ideas for when I make it again! :)

      Reply

  50. carri on September 28, 2010 at 11:11 am

    I am soooo craving pizza!!!!

    Reply

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