(CNN) — Most people think pan pizza and they think of mega American pizza chains, but one family-run Italian pizzeria has been baking this classic for more than 60 years.
When Adriano Lazzeri's father opened up Il Cavaliere Restaurant in 1958, pizza al padellino (meaning "pizza in a little pan") was a brand-new concept. The restaurant in Turin, Italy, catered to factory workers, who went wild for it.
The base is a traditional Tuscan crust, inspired by the region where Lazzeri's father grew up.
"The pan pizza has a very long leavening, in fact the dough is prepared already in the morning, it is spread in the pan and with the tomato sauce, it is left to levitate for many hours. This is how, once cooked in the old wood-burning oven, a crunchy, digestible and very tasty pizza remains," the restaurant's website explains.
Each pan pizza is a small personal pizza. Each customer gets to load it with their own customized toppings. When Tucci visited the restaurant while filming season two of "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy," he picked sausage as his topping. He also added anchovies, following Chef Lazzeri's recommendation.
"Usually, I like very thin pizza, but this is delicious, very creamy," Tucci said after trying the dish.
Pizza al Padellino (Cast-Iron Pan Pizza)
Also known as Pizza al Tegamino
Look for 00 pizza flour, Manitoba 0 flour and type 1 flour at online baking or Italian specialty stores.
Makes 10 servings
600 grams | 5 cups 00 pizza flour, plus more for surface
300 grams | 2 1/2 cups Manitoba 0 flour
100 grams | 1 cup type 1 flour
30 grams | 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 liter | 2 cups warm water
8 grams | 2.8 teaspoons brewer's yeast
100 milliliters | 3.4 ounces extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
700 grams | 3 cups tomato puree or peeled tomatoes (70 grams | 1/3 cup per portion)
800 grams | 2 1/2 cups fresh mozzarella (well-drained) (80 grams | 1/4 cup per portion)
Extra-virgin olive oil to taste
Sea salt to taste
Artichokes, anchovies, olives, salami, ham, cherry tomatoes, onions, sausage
8-inch (20-centimeter) cast-iron (padellino) or aluminum (tegamino) pan
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit). Start by gradually adding the 3 types of flour to a bowl, mixing together a little at a time. Combine all flours and then transfer half of the flour mixture into a separate bowl. Next, add the salt to 375 milliliters (1 1/2 cups) warm water and stir to dissolve in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, dissolve the yeast in the remaining 125 milliliters (1/2 cup) warm water. Keep the bowls separate.
2. Add the saltwater to the first bowl of flour. Then, add the oil and dissolved yeast to the same bowl.
3. Add the remaining mixed flour from the other bowl slowly and knead so it is smooth and soft, 15 to 20 minutes. When the dough doesn't stick to your hands, the dough is ready. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, spreading it with your hands. Stretch a piece of dough and fold it in the middle, take another edge of the same dough and fold it in the middle. Continue in the same way until the loaf is smooth and compact, about 10 minutes.
4. Option 1: Once the dough is finished, grease the pan well with extra-virgin olive oil, both on the bottom and along the edges. Add 160 to 200 grams (3/4 to 1 cup) dough. Season with tomato sauce: Add 70 grams (1/3 cup) tomato puree, 80 grams (1/4 cup) mozzarella and season to taste with extra-virgin olive oil and salt. Let the dough rest for 6 to 8 hours (in the winter, it may take 8 to 10 hours) in a dry place and away from drafts. Do not let the dough be exposed to the air, so it won't dry out.
5. Option 2: Alternatively, knead the dough until smooth and soft, 15 to 20 minutes (this depends on the outside temperature). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 6 to 8 hours. Once the loaf has risen and doubled in size, grease the pan well with extra-virgin olive oil, both on the bottom and along the edges. Divide the loaf into 160 to 200 grams (3/4 to 1 cup) dough and place the loaf into the small pan and stretch it out with your hands until it covers the entire pan surface. Season with tomato sauce: Add 70 grams (1/3 cup) tomato puree, 80 grams (1/4 cup) mozzarella and season to taste with extra-virgin olive oil and salt.
6. Add any toppings of your choice.
7. Place the pan on the central rack of the oven and cook the pizza al padellino until the dough is crispy and looks golden brown about 25 minutes. Serve while it's still hot.