I’ve baked homemade pizzas for years, but a recent episode of Man vs. Food I found on The Food Network convinced me that I might have been doing it wrong all along. The episode focused on an NYC pizza joint that serves an epic pizza the Sicilian way.

A big twist here: sauce on top of the pizza, not on the bottom.

I’m not Italian (Celi is a name I received when I married my Filipino-American husband), so this concept seemed new and interesting to me. What an idea, right? According to the episode, placing the cheese on the bottom and the sauce on the top of a square pizza actually improves the dough and makes a crispy pizza, despite a thick layer of sauce.

Inspired, I’ve been testing my twist on a Sicilian pizza for the last few weeks. My husband gave the most recent try a huge thumbs up and said it reminded him of a fancier version of cheese bread. He wants this recipe moved to the top of our weekly dinner list.

Since he likes it so much,  I’m sharing my tips.


Ingredients: 

  • 1 ball of fresh pizza dough (can be made from scratch or store-bought)
  • 2 cups of fresh sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 14-15 slices of pepperoni
  • 1/2 cup of pesto sauce
  • 1 1/2 cup of marina sauce (more if desired)

Method: 

Spread dough on greased rectangular cookie sheet until dough fully covers sheet. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over dough until cheese covers dough. Place pesto on top of cheese, spreading it lightly across the top. Place pepperoni intermittently on top of pesto. Spread layer of marina on top of pepperoni until the red sauce covers the pizza. Place pizza in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bake pizza for 20 minutes on 450 degrees, then for 5 on 170 degrees

Slice and serve!

Prep time: 30-45 minutes 

Cook time: 20 minutes 

*I’ve also tried a gluten free version of this with a Pillsbury GF crust. Turned out great, too!