February 2, 2015 |

Respecting the Craft: Grandma Pie Recipe for Success

By Tony Gemignani


Tony Gemignani headshot

World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani, owner of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco and Pizza Rock in Sacramento

Last month I talked about my experiences with the “Grandma” pie that originated on Long Island. Over the past few years I’ve seen this simple — yet delicious — pizza turn up in other parts of the country. It’s time you give it a try in your shop. Play around with the recipe a little until you get it to your liking. Popular finishes for this pizza include Grana Padano, herbs, pecorino, olive oil, Parmigiano or chopped garlic. Only you know what your customers want!


Grandma Pie
Recipe type: Pizza
Serves: 12 Squares
  • 28-ounce dough ball
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1¼ cups hand-crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
  • Dried oregano for seasoning and sprinkling
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 ounces fresh, whole-milk mozzarella
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Grated Pecorino-Romano cheese for dusting
  • Garlic oil for drizzling
  1. It’s best to work with the dough at about 65 F for this pizza.
  2. Pour the olive oil in the center of a 12-inch by18-inch steel Sicilian pan.
  3. Place the dough in the pan and flip it over to coat both sides with the oil. Use flat, fully extended fingers to press the dough outward in all directions. Make an even layer.
  4. Let sit, uncovered, in a warm spot for 30 minutes to rest. After resting, push the dough outward again a second time. Be light with the dough, careful not to degas it. Get the thickness as uniform as possible.
  5. In a bowl, toss the crushed tomatoes with the garlic and a pinch of oregano, salt and pepper.
  6. Tear the fresh mozzarella in 16 irregular chunks and arrange them on the pizza. Sprinkle the cheese lightly with salt.
  7. Next, spoon the tomatoes evenly on top of the cheese (it won’t cover the entire surface) and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
  8. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 8 minutes at 500 F. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake for another 7 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the bottom is richly browned and crisp.
  9. Cut into 12 squares. Finish with a dusting of Pecorino and oregano and a drizzle of garlic oil.

RESPECTING THE CRAFT features World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani, owner of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco and Pizza Rock in Sacramento.  Tony compiles the column with the help of his trusty assistants, Laura Meyer and Thiago Vasconcelos. If you have questions on any kitchen topic ranging from prep to finish, Tony’s your guy. Send questions via Twitter @PizzaToday, Facebook (search: Pizza Today) or e-mail jwhite@pizzatoday.com and we’ll pass the best ones on to Tony.