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Gourmet Pastas and Sauces on-line

momma's kitchen
you knead fried pizza
by Camille Di Loreto
(return to food)

One of my fondest memories as a child was making homemade pizza with my Grandmother. It was truly a warm and fuzzy experience. Grandma was always so organized in everything she did. She was the same way in her baking. She prepared the kitchen with all the necessary ingredients. The large bowls, measuring cups, wooden spoons, unbleached flour, package of yeast, olive oil, shredded cheese, salt, fresh crushed tomatoes and herbs were strategically placed on the table ready for her trusty hands to commence the work. She was a maestra ready to take command of the orchestra as she overlooked her instruments and ingredients.
She was a maestra ready to take command of the orchestra as she overlooked her instruments and ingredients.
One of her cherished baking items was her custom- made wooden board. This wooden board was very special to me since I was convinced it held some special mystical quality. Just the sight of it being placed on the table meant wonderful things were about to happen. This board was actually a simple wooden board my Grandfather cut to Grandma specifications. It was almost large enough to fit over half of the kitchen table. It was the right size for making all sorts of delicious treats such as cookies, breads, pastas etc. It was perfect for rolling and kneading dough since it was so large one ever worried about the dough rolling off the board. Plus an added feature was because the board was so large several people were able to use the board at once. The sight of this board coming out of it�s hiding place just brought a smile to my face.

This particular day Grandma prepared in her usual fashion to make pizza. She proofed the yeast. She made the flour mound with the hole in the middle for the wet ingredients. She sprinkled the salt over the flour. She carefully placed the yeast mixture into the hole. Slowly she combined the liquid ingredients with the dry. This mass of flour was transformed into a large ball of dough with her careful kneading. At this point the maestra allowed me to do my bit part in her performance. Under her supervision I was allowed to knead the dough. "Not too long." She explained the dough would become hard with too much kneading. Once this was done she placed the dough in a large oiled bowl. She covered the bowl with a large towel and placed it in the warmest spot in the kitchen. In just 1 hour we would be making Grandma's Pizza.

I watched with amazement as this normally gentle lady punched the bloated dough with such vigor it always caught me by surprise.
I watched and watched to see the dough grow from a small round ball into the huge balloon practically covering the entire diameter of the bowl. I loved watching this transformation - the smell of yeast and flour overwhelming the kitchen. Once this process was complete, I watched with amazement as this normally gentle lady punched the bloated dough with such vigor it always caught me by surprise. Now the final stage of Grandma's pizza making was in place. Before she started kneading her dough for the second time, Grandma checked the temperature of the oven. Much to her surprise it was not hot. Alas the maestra was thrown for a loop. This did not happen often. The oven, which was turned on over an hour ago never, preheated. "Mannaggia Mia!" she proclaimed. What was she going to do! In all her planning, this was not something she could have imagined.

Grandma stepped back and looked at the oven. She pressed buttons. She smacked the oven door. She even called on a higher authorities - St. Anthony, St. Francis and St. Ann. Nothing happened. How was she going to make pizza without an oven? It has never been done. What was she to do with all the prepared dough and topping. Suddenly it came to her like a flash of lightening. She was not going to allow a broken oven to get in the way of making pizza. I watched Grandma and I waited. I could tell she had a plan. Her eyes lit up. She thanked the Saints for the divine inspiration. Grandma was going to make Fried pizza!

How was she going to make pizza without an oven?
Now this was a new one for me but she assured me it would work just fine. She said it in such a way one would think she made fried pizza all the time. She took out her two large frying pans and oiled them. She formed the dough just the right size to fit the pans. She placed the dough in her oiled frying pans. First she browned one side slowly watching for the dough to rise in the pan. She then turned the dough over. While the second side slowly browned and rose she placed the toppings of tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese and basil. I watched. I waited. I was amazed. It turned into pizza. It was just great. Score one for Grandma. It was truly delicious. It was so delicious that this became a tradition for us. In the summer when Grandma wanted to make pizza and the kitchen was too hot she simply made fried pizza. No need to turn on the oven.

I have since adopted this little gem for myself. It is truly a fantastic way to make pizza very quickly and the taste is wonderful. Pizza is a great treat in the summer since so many our gardens are over flowing with tomatoes, peppers zucchini and basil. Try it with your family.

If you have any kitchen memories to share, please contact me at [email protected].

Here is a pizza recipe for you.

Dough Recipe

1 dry yeast packet (.25ounce)
3 cups unbleached four
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup water

Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup warm water (110 degrees) combined with 1 teaspoon sugar. Stir slightly. Let stand about 10 minutes till mixture doubles in size and looks bubbly. In a large bowl, place the 3 cups unbleached flour leaving a hole in the middle. Place the olive oil and salt in the middle of the hole. Place the dissolved yeast in the hole and slowly begin to combine the ingredients and form a dough ball. Remove the dough ball onto a clean slightly floured surface and gently knead for about 5 minutes. If dough is too sticky add a little flour.

Place dough ball in a clean oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let stand for about 1 hour. Dough should at least double in size.

Once this is complete take out your favorite frying pan. I prefer a non- stick pan. I also spray it with Pan or any non-oil spray. In addition I add about a teaspoon of olive oil to the pan. Pre-heat the pan over medium burner. Place the well- flattened, well- formed dough into the frying pay. Over medium heat begin browning one side then the other side. The dough will rise in the pan slightly. This is a good thing. It should poof a bit. (This is a technical term!)

After the second side has been turned over begin placing the desired ingredients on the fried dough. Just a little advice - do not place too much tomato mixture and cheese on the fried dough. It can become a soupy mess.


1 large can whole Italian tomatoes crushed
8 large fresh basil leaves chopped
Fresh mozzarella- shredded or sliced thinly
Fresh ground pepper
4 cloves fresh minced garlic
1 medium size purple onion- chopped

Combine all ingredients except the shredded mozzarella in a large bowl. Set aside. When fried dough is ready place the tomato mixture then the mozzarella on the dough.


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