My grandfather’s side of the family is from Italy, specifically Sicily, and my dad tells stories of all the delicious food his grandmother would make as he was growing up. I love all of her recipes, but my absolute favorite is when my dad makes her pizza. He makes the dough from scratch and then builds the pizzas based on our requests. This past weekend my dad handed down my grandmother’s recipe so I can make it for my friends and family.

The first step is making the pizza dough. The dough does use yeast and will need to rise. We started making the dough around 4:00 and had hot pizzas on the table around 6:30.

Dough Recipe:

This recipe makes 3 16″ round pizzas.

  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups Crisco
  • 2 packages active dry yeast


1. In a large bowl combine 6 cups of unbleached flour, salt, and 3/4 cup Crisco. Using a dough blender, mix the Crisco and flour together. The mixture should not be clumpy.

2. Prepare the yeast by following the directions on the package of active dry yeast. Stir the yeast until it is completely dissolved.

3. Put the yeast mixture into large bowl. Fill the  container that once held yeast mixture with warm water. You will use this for kneading the pizza dough.

Pour the yeast into a large bowl and add the flour to this.

4. Slowly add flour to the yeast and mix until a dough forms. Once the consistency of the dough is less sticky, move the dough onto a flour covered counter top. Continue to add the flour to the dough, kneading until the flour is completely mixed into the dough. As you knead the rest of the flour mixture into the dough, use the warm yeast water to prevent the dough from getting to dry/hard. As needed, put small of amounts of the yeast mixture in the dough to soften it. The goal is to make a dough that is not sticky but still soft. If the dough gets too sticky,  just add more flour.

Slowly add flour to the yeast mixture.

Sticky dough

Mix in flour until dough starts to form.

Move dough to hard surface and start kneading in the rest of the flour.

As you add more flour to the dough, you may need to add warm yeast water to keep the dough soft.

4. Once the dough is complete it needs to rise for hour. Place the dough in a bowl coated in olive oil, turn over once so the whole dough is coated in oil, then cover with a clean towel and let rise.

While the dough rises prepare your toppings!!! Growing up my brother and I always requested a plain cheese, while my mom and dad wanted something more adventurous, like olives, mushrooms, pepperoni, and green peppers.

As my brother and I have gotten older, we have expanded our list of pizza toppings. Last weekend we made three pizzas using combinations of the topping listed below.

  • Salami
  • Roasted red and yellow peppers
  • Black olives
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
Here is a list of the ingredients you will need to build the pizzas.
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 (16 ounce) packages of whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded.
  • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • Olive oil
  • Oregano

After you have gotten your topping planned and prepared, the next step is the sauce.

1. Add 1 teaspoon garlic powder to can of crushed tomatoes. The sauce is now ready!!

Mix in the garlic powder and now the sauce is ready.

Once the dough has risen its time to make the pizzas. You know the dough is done rising if you poke it with your finger and the indentation remains.

If the finger indent stays in place, the dough is now ready.

To construct the pizzas: (This is the best part!)

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees

1. Grease each of your pizza pans with Crisco.

2. Pull off a section of pizza dough and place it in the center of the pizza pan. Working towards the edge of the pan, spread the dough with your fingers until the pan is completely covered. You can adjust the thickness of the dough based on your personal preferences. My dad makes his about 1/4″ thick.

Pull a section of the dough ball to make 1 pizza.

3. Spoon a ladle  of tomato sauce into the center of the dough and spread outwards so the dough is covered with sauce. You can add more or less sauce depending on how much you desire on your pizza.

Speading the dough

Spread the dough onto the pizza pan unit it looks like…


Laddle sauce

Scoop and spread tomato sauce onto the crust.

4. Spread your toppings onto your pizzas. After all the toppings are on cover with the shredded mozzarella cheese. On top of the mozzarella, spread Parmesan cheese and then sprinkle with oregano. After that, drizzle the pizza with olive oil.

Pizza toppings

Salami and roasted peppers.

mozarella cheese

Cover in shredded mozzarella cheese.

Olive oil

Add grated Parmesan cheese, oregano, and olive oil.

5. Before  putting them in the oven, let the pizzas for rest for 20-25 minutes. After resting, the pizzas are ready for the oven. Place the pizzas on the bottom rack and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Now you are ready to eat. Enjoy!!