CNYEats A Taste of Utica: Tomato Pie

by Joanne on March 27, 2011

A Utica classic.  Tomato Pie.  It’s not quite a pizza.  Most of the time we eat it cold.  It’s almost ALWAYS seen at parties. 

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It’s so, so good!

From Wikipedia:  A unique food that is popular in Central New York (Utica, NY).  Tomato pie is a pizza-like food that is common in Italian-American families.  It is usually served at room temperature, not hot.  This “tomato pie” is not made with fresh tomatoes and the name “pie” most likely derives from the term pizza pie.  The basic recipe features pizza dough covered with thick tomato sauce, then sprinkled with grated Romano cheese.  Every bakery and pizzeria has its own variation on this basic recipe.

A number of recipes from our book A Taste of Utica.  Take your pick.  You can’t go wrong.

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Page 114:  Italian Tomato Pie posted by Vince Minnella  “Here’s a recipe from my collection.  We’ve prepared it many times”

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Dough:

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  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 cups flour
  • 3 TBS Romano cheese, grated
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • pinch of sugar

Sauce:

  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 3 – 4 cloves garlic, fine chop
  • 2 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Sauce = Mix sauce ingredients together. Set aside while making the dough.  Preferably, refrigerate the sauce mix over night however 1 hour will do.

Dough = Heat 1/4 cup water to 125 deg.F  Add yeast and just a pinch of sugar.  Cover and set aside for 10 minutes.

Use a dough hook on your standing mixer and mix 3 cups flour, salt, oil, and 1 3/4 cups warm water.  Add the yeast to the flour mix.  Mix for another 3 to 4 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as you mix.  Add 3 more cups of flour and mix another 3 to 4 minutes.

Place the dough on a clean working surface that is lightly floured.  Knead for 10 – 12 minutes.  Rub a some oil all over a bowl.  Form the dough into a ball and put into the oiled bowl.  Flip dough over, cover with a towel and set in a draft free area to let rise 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500 deg. F.  Use olive oil and grease bottom and sides of a 11 1/2 x 17 x 1” baking sheet.  Lightly flour the sheet. Place the dough on the sheet and pressing with fingers shape it to the pan. Brush top and edges of dough with oil.  Sprinkle some of the cheese over the dough.

Put 2 to 8 oz ladles of sauce on the dough and spread evenly. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese.  Sprinkle parsley evenly over the top and let set 15 minutes.

Place pizza on middle shelf in oven and cook 10 – 15 minutes. Be careful the crust doesn’t brown too much.

Serve immediately or let cool.

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VARIATION:  Slice fresh tomatoes thin into a bowl and add plenty of oil, crush or sliced fresh garlic, a lot of torn basil and salt and pepper.  Let marinate for 4 to 6 hours.  Spread on dough.  Use a pastry brush to spread some oil from the tomatoes onto the dough.  Place tomatoes, garlic, basil onto the dough in a pattern you like or a simple circle, covering the entire dough.  Liberally sprinkle with Locatelli.  Bake until golden brown.

Page 115 Tomato Pie, posted by Frank DuRoss Jr.

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  • 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 lg can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb pizza dough
  • 3 TBS grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 450 F.  Stretch pizza dough to cover a greased cookie sheet.  Dough should be fairly thick, about 3/4 inch.  Allow to rise while the sauce cooks. 

Heat a saucepan on medium and add oil and garlic.  Saute until garlic is golden.  Add tomatoes and oregano.  Cook until thickened, 15 – 20 minutes.  Cool until it is room temp.

Top pizza dough with the sauce and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. After removing the tomato pie from oven, sprinkle the Romano cheese on top.  Let cool to room temp. before eating.

Page 116 Tomato Pie like DeIorio’s, posted by Jim

You’ll need a 13 x 18 inch sheet pan that is sprayed with non-stick spray or brush with olive oil. 

  • 1 lb pizza dough (purchased from store)
  • 16 oz pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese

Press dough to cover the pan and up the sides.  Starting in the middle, ladle the sauce over the dough. 

Add  the cheese (the recipe says “a couple of handfuls.  I assume it’s about 1/2 a cup or more if you like).  *Jim likes to finish the pie off with a few shakes of DeIorio’s Pizza Garnish and throw in some fresh garlic. 

Like I said, it was pretty simple, but people really enjoyed it.  The crust was less dense than Tony’s, which made it easier to chew – which appealed to the older generation.  From what I hear, DeIorio’s was one of the first to sell the tomato pie during East Utica Italian Weddings way back when.  Anyhow, this is one version…good luck!

Page 116 Tomato Pie, posted by Syracuse Sally/BHG/TomatoeMan.  “This is awesome.  I make it all the time now – Valerie”

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  • 1 lb pizza dough
  • Sauce:  4 TBS olive oil.   2 crushed cloves of garlic.  28 oz. crushed tomatoes.  1 whole small onion(peeled).  1 tsp dried basil.  2 TBS sugar. Salt and pepper to taste.  1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese.

Spread dough evenly to cover a baking sheet that has been oiled.   Allow to rise slightly.

In a saucepan over medium high , heat the oil for the sauce.  Add the garlic and saute 1 minutes. Add the tomatoes and drop in the WHOLE onion.   Add the basil, sugar, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.  Toss onion out and cool sauce before using.

Preheat oven to 450 F. Top the dough with sauce and sprinkle with cheese.    Bake for 20 minutes. Don’t burn!

Page 134 My Mama’s (God rest her soul) Tomato Pie, posted by Chuckvp  *Chuck didn’t give measurements so Applecrumbles made assumptions.  Adjust according to your preference.

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  • 1 lb pizza dough
  • 6 Roma tomatoes
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4  to 6 leaves fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Locatelli

Slice the tomatoes thin into a bowl and add plenty of oil, crushed or sliced fresh garlic, lots of torn fresh basil and some salt and pepper. Let marinate for 4 – 6 hours.

NOTE:  The rest of the instructions are identical to the variation in recipe 1.  Copied again here….

VARIATION:  Slice fresh tomatoes thin into a bowl and add plenty of oil, crush or sliced fresh garlic, a lot of torn basil and salt and pepper.  Let marinate for 4 to 6 hours.  Spread on dough.  Use a pastry brush to spread some oil from the tomatoes onto the dough.  Place tomatoes, garlic, basil onto the dough in a pattern you like or a simple circle, covering the entire dough.  Liberally sprinkle with Locatelli.  Bake until golden brown.  Let cool to room temperature.  MANGIA!!!

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Love pizza but not all the calories that go with it?  Try tomato pie! Half the cheese  with a healthy tomato sauce on a thin crust. You just can’t go wrong!

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5 Comments

  • […] Excerpt from: CNYEats A Taste of Utica: Tomato Pie […]

    • At 2011.03.28 06:41, Medeja said:

      Looks like pizza. And such kind of pie would taste good with beer.. :))

      • At 2011.03.29 00:17, Monet said:

        Oh yum! This sounds like a pizza made for me 🙂 I normally don’t like all that gooey cheese on my pizza, so this tomato pie is perfect. Thank you for sharing with me. Visiting your blog brings me a measure of brightness. I hope you have a blessed week, my friend.

        • At 2011.09.14 16:21, Steve said:

          Every tomato pie I’ve eaten in Utica has had delicious sweet, thick tomato sauce – use very ripe tomatoes from your garden or those from San Marzano! How I love this food!

          • At 2013.02.06 18:26, ray said:

            Wow! This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for!

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