Calabrese Pizza

Grandma’s Care Package

Ok, so my children are half Calabrese. So I thought it was fitting that I add this recipe to my blog. Their grandmother Isabella is a wonderful cook and every time my son Joseph comes home from grandma’s house he is carrying a full weeks worth of dinner with him. Zuccinni fritters, rice balls, chicken cutlets, mpanada, stuffed peppers, eggplant rollatini, homemade cookies…and that’s just a small sample. Maybe she thinks I don’t feed him enough?

When he walks in the house I hear the plastic bags making noises and he usually makes two trips from the car.  Every thing he takes out of the bags are packed in aluminum dishes with plastic lids. For any one who didn’t know any better it looks like he just bumped off the neighborhood Italian restaurant, or just ordered take out for the New York Giants and all the coaches, including the administrative staff. As I walk in the room he stakes claim to what’s his and what’s available for “public” consumption. I tell him, “Joseph, there is enough food here to feed everyone on our block, and you’re rationing it”?

For the most part I obey his wishes, or as least only slightly pick at what he is hoarding so he doesn’t notice it missing. But I have a rule in my house. If anything stays for more than 4 days in my refrigerator, I own it. He doesn’t like that rule, and I know the worst thing in the world is to come home thinking you are going to dig into the veal Parmigiano and it’s gone. Tough. Those are my rules. Same rules go for ice cream. Actually, I bypass the four-day rule and if he goes out and brings back a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, he better buy two. Other wise, the next time he looks, it might be missing.

I guess that’s why growing up in a house with a brother and sister that had as good an appetite as me, we never had any left overs. If you liked what you were eating you better eat till it’s gone, because if you don’t, the first person to get to it later will polish it off. So we always cleaned our plates.

You think that things change when you get older. But they don’t. One year I went on a cruise with my sister Annette and brother-in-law Artie. Cruises are known for food, and plenty of it. Didn’t matter. My sister was sitting next to me at the dining table and all I did was sit back for a second or two and take a breath. The fork in her hand came up from under the table and started to stab what was left on my plate. I looked at my sister with wide open eyes and said “Annette! I’m not done with that!”. And as she stuffed the last of my lobster tail in her mouth she said “MppHHf, I thought you were!” The next night I put Artie between us.

I actually look forward to when my son Joseph comes home from grandma Isabella’s house. It usually cuts down on my cooking  for the next week and a half. And Joseph does not know how to compete with me for those left overs. I have had training all my life.

  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1  1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup cubed pancetta
  • 3 large hard-boiled eggs, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian parsley
  • Pinch hot pepper flakes
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

Put the yeast and water in a bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the center. Combine the yeast, olive oil, and salt in the well. Draw the flour into the wet ingredients and knead the mixture into a dough on a lightly floured work surface. Let dough rest in a clean bowl, covered with a dish towel, for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Divide the dough in half. Flatten each piece with your hands into a 16-inch circle and place 1 of them on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Spread the ricotta over the dough, leaving 1 inch of the dough uncovered around the edges.

Sprinkle the top with the pancetta and arrange the egg over  it.

Sprinkle with the parsley and hot pepper flakes and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Cover the pizza with the second circle of dough and seal the edges of the dough by pressing them together. Brush the top with the beaten egg yolk.

Bake for 40 minutes or until golden. Serve hot.


About Peter Bocchieri

Peter was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a second generation Italian-American. He has a degree in Journalism from Long Island University and is an avid photographer, gardener and pet owner. Now that Peter is retired, he is relaxing at his home in North East Pennsylvania and cooking for his sons, Michael and Joseph, family and friends. Peter's passion for food was inspired by his Mother's and Grandmother's cooking, but at the age of 10 Peter felt he could do it better himself, so he did.
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