Spending my teenage years in Northeast Philly, there was only one definition of classic Philadelphia tomato pie it was from Tony’s, and don’t call it pizza.
This pie has a light, focaccia-like dough covered with spicy tomato sauce and sprinkled with Romano. I’m using tomatoes from my garden as well as some paste for the sauce.
For the dough
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon rapid-rise yeast
2 ¼ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons) water
For the sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, roughly pureed in a food processor or blender (or about 3 cups of fresh tomatoes and 1 small can paste)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 shallot or small onion
½ ounce finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Make the dough: Combine flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
Whisk to combine. Add olive oil and water.
Knead on low speed just until dough comes together, about 3 minutes. Let dough rest for 10 minutes, then knead once more on low speed for 10 minutes. Dough should pull away from sides of bowl but stick to bottom.
Remove dough hook, cover top of mixing bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
Make the sauce: Heat olive oil and butter in a saucepan over medium-high until butter melts. Add garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, sugar, and whole shallot.
Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until rich and thick, about 25-30 minutes. Season to taste with salt. You can leave it chunky if you want, but I rough chop everything and put it in the blender for a smooth sauce for this pie.
Allow to cool in fridge while dough rises.
Generously grease the inside of a 13- by 18-inch rimmed baking sheet with olive oil (about 3 tablespoons). Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Form into flat ball and transfer to baking sheet. Using your hands, coat the dough on all sides with olive oil. Loosely cover the baking sheet with plastic and let dough rise in a warm spot for 1 hour. The dough should spread out.
Carefully stretch and push the dough into the corners and edges of the pan. Cover loosely, and let rise for 1 hour longer.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. When dough has risen, use your hands to create a risen ridge about 1-inch wide around the edge.
Spread sauce generously over dough, leaving the raised 1-inch edge un-sauced. I like to add very thin slices of tomato on top, but that’s optional. Bake until edges are light golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes total, rotating pan half way through baking. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with Romano cheese, cut into slices, and serve.
I don’t eat much gluten, so if you’re like me, you’ll taste a slice, then call your friend Mark to come get the rest of the pie :)