Sunday, March 25, 2012

nana bell's fuggatz

my husband's family was making and eating foccacia bread well before it was en vogue. before anyone knew what foccacia even was; hell, they called it fuggatz. and you could find nana bell (short for bellontuano, real italians here) making dough at midnight, leaving it to rise over night.

she'd fry some of the dough up in the morning and serve it with consative, or 'guinea butter' as my husband calls it - which basically was just oven dried tomato paste with italian herbs and garlic. mix, spread it on a baking sheet and cook it low and slow in the oven.

but onto the fuggatz. there's only one way to make it. pizza dough, plum san marzano tomatoes, onion and basil, kosher salt and cracked black pepper. and let's be clear, this isn't pizza.

i tend to get on a yeast kick in the winter, making dough with my kitchen aid mixer sometimes four times a week. with the dough hook, it's super easy and this pizza dough recipe is pretty versatile; aside from the foccacia bread, i make italian bread and rolls, breadsticks and yes, even pizza.

 1 1/2 cups warm water
 1 t dry active yeast
1 t granulated sugar
4 cups white flour
1 T olive oil 2 t kosher salt

1 can san marzano plum tomatoes
1/2 onion, sliced, chopped, however you want it
fresh chopped basil - to taste (you won't get the same flavor from dried basil)
kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste

to the warm 102 degree water add the yeast and sugar and olive oil, stir until mixed, cover with a kitchen towel for a few minutes until it gets bubbly. in the bowl of your mixer (or a mixing bowl) add the flour,salt and yeast mixture. mix until well combined. kneed by hand or dough hook until the ball is smooth and elastic. remove the dough from the bowl, and with your hand or a paper towel, spread a bit of olive oil all around the bowl and set the dough ball back in. cover with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap and keep in a warm spot until the dough doubles in side (1-1/2 hours).

preheat oven to 425, spread a bit of olive oil on a stone baking sheet or jelly roll pan. punch down your dough, remove and work it from the center, making a rectangle and laying it on the prepared pan. use your fingers to make indentations in the dough, stretching it to fix the pan completely. cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel set somewhere warm and let rise for 20-30 minutes (you don't HAVE to do this step, but it's a much better foccacia bread in the end).

 remove the tomatoes from the can, one by one, and crush them with your fingers and lay them atop the foccacia dough,  a little bit of tomato juice on the dough is good! sprinkle the chopped or sliced onion and chopped basil all over the top, season with salt and pepper.

cook at 425 for 30-40 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown. you can brush the crust with olive oil to make it crispier.  i remove this from the pan immediately and try to let it cool on a cooling rack for at least 30 milliseconds before the inmates get to it!  i just cut it into squares and serve as is.  it's a great snack, or a nice addition to salad for dinner.

one of these doesn't last in my house for longer than an hour once everyone's home, but on the rare occasion there are left overs, they're great in a lunch box!

linking up to my new favorite food site:


  1. Oh yum! I'm looking at your recipe and getting hungry. I will have to try this. Fellow "wop" here!

  2. OK. I'm making this on Wednesday. Can't wait. I just have one question - how do you tell the water is 102 degrees?

  3. i used to use a candy thermometer, but now i can tell by just dipping my finger into the water. it doesn't have to be exactly 102, just somewhere around that. just don't make the water too hot or you'll kill the yeast.

  4. That looks so yummy! I just want to run off from work and try it! Your newest follower!

  5. I made this last night. Yummy but I cooked it too long! damn! a few questions for those of us who weren't raised watching our grandmothers making bread....the next time you make this could you please jot down the approximate times that you use for kneading (elastic and smooth can mean a lot of things) and also what size your jelly roll pan is...thanks dear!

  6. eek, sorry karen! i knead the dough in my kitchen aid with a dough hook for about 4-5 minutes and i use a quarter sheet sized pan - hope this helps!



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