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Servs: 12

(Sicilian "Pizza" with Onions and Anchovies)<P> Sfinciune derives its name from a word in local dialect meaning soft, light, or tender, a reference to its rich, airy crust. This version of sfinciune has a bread-crumb topping, which gives it a pleasant crunch.

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  • add   1 cup warm water (105&deg;-115&deg;F)
  • add   3 tablespoons olive oil
  • add   1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • add   1 large onion
  • add   1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • add   3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour plus up to 3 tablespoons additional if necessary
  • add   2 ounces caciocavallo, mild provolone, or ricotta salata cheese
  • add   1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • add   <B>For dough</B>
  • add   1 teaspoon salt
  • add   2 tablespoons olive oil
  • add   2 tablespoons olive oil<B>For sauce</B>
  • add   2 cups canned whole tomatoes with juice (preferably Italian) or 3 large fresh vine-ripened tomatoes
  • add   a 2-ounce can flat anchovy filletsa 3-inch piece day-old French or Italian bread
  • add   a 1/4-ounce package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast


  1. Make dough:
  2. In a measuring cup stir together water and yeast until yeast is dissolved. In a large bowl whisk together 3 cups flour, Pecorino Romano, salt, and pepper and add yeast mixture and oil, stirring until a soft dough forms. On a lightly floured surface knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding additional flour if dough is sticky.
  3. Oil a large bowl (preferably with olive oil) and transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Make sauce while dough is rising:
  5. Chop canned tomatoes, reserving juice. If using fresh tomatoes, peel, seed, and dice. Halve onion and thinly slice. In a medium saucepan cook onion in oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, including juice, and oregano and simmer 10 minutes, or until thickened. While mixture is simmering, drain and chop anchovies. Stir anchovies into tomato mixture and cool to room temperature. (Sauce may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.)
  6. Cut bread into 1-inch pieces and in a food processor pulse until it breaks up into coarse crumbs. In a small skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and fry 1/2 cup bread crumbs (reserving any remaining crumbs for another use), stirring occasionally, until golden.
  7. Oil a 12-inch pizza pan (preferably with olive oil). Transfer dough to pan and stretch and pat it out evenly to fit pan. Cover dough with a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a warm place 30 minutes, or until almost doubled in bulk.
  8. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  9. With your fingertips make indentations, about 1/2 inch deep and 1 inch apart, all over dough. Top dough with half of sauce, spreading with back of a spoon to within 1/2 inch of edge. Bake sfinciune in middle of oven 25 minutes.
  10. While sfinciune is baking, cut cheese into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread remaining sauce over sfinciune and top with cheese. Sprinkle sfinciune with bread crumbs and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Bake sfinciune 5 minutes more, or until cheese is melted and edge is golden brown. (Sfinciune may be made 1 day ahead and cooled on a rack before chilling, wrapped in plastic wrap. To reheat, preheat baking sheet in a 375°F oven and bake sfinciune on hot baking sheet until heated through, about 15 minutes.
  11. Cut sfinciune into wedges and serve hot.

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