Nonna Elda’s Pizza dough recipe is a staple you absolutely must have for your own kitchen. The title is slightly misleading because this dough is more of an all purpose dough that is used for a number of recipes, not just pizza!
With this dough Nonna makes foccaccia pizza, American style pizza, bread, sandwich buns, and my personal favourite….donuts!
Nonna always has one dough in the fridge sitting in the bag just in case! You can also make a double batch, and freeze some if you want to.
This recipe requires very few ingredients, which you can acquire in bulk, and costs only a few dollars to make. You can cook it and have a fresh meal for very little and what you put on top is up to you! If you make a nice foccaccia pizza (remember to line your pizza tray with crisco-or lard if you prefer lard) then you can use whatever you like as a topping. Nonna loves using fresh cherry tomatoes and some fresh oregano and rosemary on top, and a little garlic.
Personally I love a gorgeous potato foccaccia, all you need to do is slice some potatoes very thin, and line them across your dough then drizzle with olive oil.
Anchovies or olives are also an easy topping to always have on hand! That pack a big flavour! If you’re someone who would love to cook more at home but never seem to have ingredients on hand, these kinds of toppings are easy to buy once and then keep in the fridge for a while. Remove barriers to cooking for yourself by planning ahead when you can!
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Why does Nonna keep the dough in a bag for three days? Nonna recommends leaving the dough to sit in the fridge for at least one night because she says that too much yeast is not good for you, and over time the yeast becomes less intense. However you can just skip this step, and let the dough rise immediately. (I do it. shhh, don’t tell Nonna.)
- How do I make the donuts? The donuts are so easy! Check out the video below. You need to make little balls, cover them in flour and let them rise. Then make little holes, and let those rise! When it’s nice and donut looking and plump, you deep fry the heck out of them. Nonna likes to coat them in regular sugar, personally I’m partial to a chocolate dip.
- How do you make bread with this dough? You just shape the dough into the loaf, score it with a knife, and pop it in the oven at 350 until it cooks through (about an hour, keep an eye on it.)
- How do you make this dough into a foccaccia vs a pizza? What’s the difference. According to Nonna there is no difference, foccaccia to her is pizza. The main difference is really what kind of topping situation you have going, if you plan to cover it in lots of sauce and cheese that’s very American Style, so that’s more of a pizza-pizza. Nonna puts very little on top of her foccaccia, drizzles it in good olive oil, and always pokes holes into it. It comes out very crispy. Afterwards we often eat it with deli meats and cheese on top. A nice strong parmigiano reggiano, some pecorino, asiago, perhaps a few slices of prosciutto, or mortadella? Delicious. Take that on a picnic and you’ve got yourself a romantic date.
- What about dinner rolls? Basically same deal as the bread, just make little tiny loaves and cook for less time. You could also brush them with some nice oil and some herbs. Nonna swears by fresh herbs on everything.
- WHY CRISCO?! People are always upset about the crisco. If you don’t like crisco, don’t use it, but your pizza won’t turn out as well. Also, spoiler alert, if you buy foccaccia or pizza at a real Italian bakery they probably used Crisco. You may be saying, “Crisco is modern how is that authentic?” You’re right it wasn’t available in Italy in the 1940’s, Nonna’s family used pig lard. You can totally go and get yourself some pig lard. Seriously. But it smells, it’s harder to find, and also it’s pig lard. So Crisco is just a really easy vegan friendly alternative that keeps in the fridge, is plant based, and won’t stink your house up.
- “OKAY BUT REALLY WHY CRISCO? I want to use oil! Or cornmeal” Okay. Use that. Seriously. It’s your pizza. It will be harder to stretch, you’re more likely to get holes in it. And the consistency will be inferior. But like Nonna always says “You gotta make a food a your way! It’s a your food!” So, go with God dearest friends, live your life, use your cornmeal.
The magic thing about this recipe is that you really can just turn it into everything, it’s a basic building block and once you get the hang of getting it just right it’s easy to have for any time!
The Beauty of Simplistic Pizza Toppings
Here in North America pizzas are all about loading it up like a fancy minivan, everyone wants all the bells and whistles all at once and they’re willing to pay extra for that grilled chicken, olives, and heated seating. Wait, I mixed up my analogies there. Don’t worry about it.
But I digress, North Americans and their gosh darn loaded pizzas, it’s disrespectful to the ingredients to have that much on your pizza. It’s not a burrito you guys. True Italian pizza is more like a foccaccia.
The way we make pizza, is usually outside in a wood fire oven, and you make several, because we have all the family to eat it, and probably a bunch of hungry neighbours. And the toppings are simple! But each pizza is different!
Each pizza should have a distinct flavour, a different texture, you should be able to bite into it and really savour what is on your tongue. It should not be a schmorgasburg. Look I feel really strongly about this.
Some of the great Pizzas I’ve had with Nonna/made with Nonna;
-Thinly sliced zucchini, with oil, salt, garlic.
-Anchovies, oregano, olive oil, salt, chili pepper.
-zucchini flowers stuffed with anchovies, drizzled with olive oil.
-Sliced potato with oregano, chili pepper, salt, and olive oil.
-cherry tomatoes, chopped and tossed with crushed garlic, parmigiano reggiano, chili peppers, oil, and salt.
-Just oil, with rosemary, oregano, salt, chili.
Okay. I think I’ve said enough. It’s hard to tell. Here’s the gosh darn recipe, If you read this far good for you.
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