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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

Sfincione di San Vito Recipe | Sicilian "Deep Dish Pizza"

Sfincione is a type of Italian "torta salata," or savory pie. This particular Sicilian version is actually similar to a Chicago deep dish pizza, and may have inspired the American classic. While no Italian would consider this to be a pizza, it is sure to impress deep dish fans!

Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:

Makes two 9-inch pies. While you can scale the recipe down, the dough is much easier to make in a larger batch so we recommend making two. They can be frozen after baking and reheated in the oven before serving.

For the dough, you will need:

- 4 1/8 cups (500g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

- 1 packet active dry yeast

- 1 1/4 tsp (5g) sugar

- 1 1/4 cup (250ml) room temperature water, adjusted to feel

- 2 1/2 tsp (15g) salt

- 3 1/2 tbsp (about 40g) lard

For the filling, you will need:

- 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the pans

- 1 medium white or gold onion, diced

- 1/2 pound (250g) ground pork

- Salt

- Black pepper

- 1/2 cup (120ml) red wine

- 2 tbsp (30g) tomato paste

- 28 oz (800g) canned whole peeled tomatoes

- 1 tsp fennel seeds

- Chopped salami to taste

- Chopped "primo sale" cheese (or queso blanco) to taste

- Bread crumbs for topping

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast and sugar. Mix thoroughly. Begin gradually adding room temperature water while mixing by hand. The amount of water needed will vary so adjust according to feel. You're looking for a dough that is very soft but not sticky.

When it seems like you have added just enough water to hold all the flour into a manageable dough, add the salt and lard. Mix thoroughly and knead the dough on a floured surface until it is very smooth and even.

Place the dough into the mixing bowl, cover the top with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until it doubles in size.

Bring the olive oil up to medium temperature in a saucepan. Add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are slightly transparent. Add the ground pork and fry until browned. Be sure to break up the pork into a crumble as it cooks.

When the pork is browned, salt/pepper to taste. Add the red wine and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the smell of alcohol has dissipated.

Stir in the tomato paste, then add the tomatoes. Don't throw the can away! Fill it up halfway with water and add that into the sauce, too. Bring to a simmer and add the fennel seeds.

Allow to simmer, partially covered, for about 1 1/2 hours. If the sauce thickens too much (it should end up like a thick Bolognese) add more water as necessary. As it nears the end, salt to taste. Allow the sauce to cool before moving on, it can be warm but not hot to the touch.

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200C).

Pull a piece of dough, approximately 1/4 of the entire amount, and spread by hand on a floured surface until it is large enough to completely line a 9-inch diameter metal pie pan (about 2-inches deep). Oil the pan well and drape the dough into it, allowing the edges to overhang slightly.

Add a thick layer of sauce to the bottom, then top with chopped salami and cheese to taste. Repeat the process of spreading out a piece of dough and use this to enclose the top.

Seal the pie by rolling the bottom edges over the top and pressing with a fork. Pierce the top 3-4 times before putting in the oven.

Repeat with the second sfincione!

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the dough is beginning to turn golden. Remove from the oven and spread a thin layer of sauce over the top. Brush the crust edges with the liquid of the sauce (no meat) as well. Top with more cheese to taste and a generous sprinkle of breadcrumbs.

Continue to bake for another 20-25 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Buon appetito!

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