Pizza Palermo Style
Makes two, thick 9-inch pizzas
Sfincione, Sicilian pizza, is found in the province of Palermo and is thicker than pizza found in Naples or other regions.
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups warm water (110°F), divided
5 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
Grinding coarse black pepper, to taste
8 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and cut into small pieces (optional)
1 cup toasted breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1/2 pound provolone or fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small pieces
1. In a medium size bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm water; stir in 3/4 cup of the flour and mix well to form a ball. Cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
2. Place the remaining flour on a work surface and make a hole in the center. Add the yeast mixture and work the flour and 2 teaspoons of salt. Add as much of the remaining 2 cups of warm water as needed to make a dough that is soft, elastic and not sticking to your hands. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and work it in with your hands until it is completely absorbed. Cover and allow the dough to rise until double in size.
3. Meanwhile, simmer the onions in 1 cup of water until they are soft. Drain and blot the onions dry. Sauté the onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil until golden brown. Stir in the tomato sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Liberally oil two 9-inch cake pans with the remaining oil. After the dough rises, punch it down divide it in half. Spread each half in a cake pan, stretching it out with your fingers so it covers the bottom in an even layer. Sprinkle the anchovies (if using them) over each half, pushing them down into the dough as far as they will go. Spread the tomato and onion sauce evenly over the dough.
5. Mix the breadcrumbs and oregano, and sprinkle them in an even layer over the sauce. Sprinkle the cheese over the breadcrumbs. Cover the pans and allow to rise for 2 hours.
6. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake the pizza for 30–35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Drizzle the tops with olive oil and cut into pieces. Serve hot.