TUCKAHOE, N.Y. -- DV Home Cooking is a new series devoted to readers and their recipes. All we ask is that you're a home cook, not a professional chef. Got a favorite dish you want to share? Send it, along with the story behind it, to DVHomeCooking@dailyvoice.com.
Home Cook: Tina DiLeo, Tuckahoe resident, blogger at Cheftini
Growing up in an Italian family, you learn very quickly there's no such thing as a 'recipe' If you want to make a dish that your mother or grandmother makes to perfection you better pay attention because getting recipes from an Italian mother is kind of like finding Willy Wonka's golden ticket.
Italian mothers share recipes in the form of ingredients. Pinches and handfuls are actually given out as quantifiable measurements and depending on the recipe, a pinch can be as much as a handful and a cup can be as big as coffee cup of as small as shot glass - kindof a tough way to learn how to cook, but that's been the culinary story of my life.
One recipe that I've been able to master is my mother's focaccia. Well, actually a variation. My mother has been gone for many years and of course I never did get an actual recipe. But that's ok because once I really thought about how she made it, I realized the recipe was all in the details. The focaccia was adorned with sporadic slices of tomatoes, oregano and sea salt and was baked until it had a golden brown crust on top.
Through the years I have perfected my own version and though it's not exactly the recipe my mom used when I was a child, in the end, I know it's a version she'd be proud to eat and one that I now share with my family.
Recipe: Thin Crust Focaccia
- 1 package of bakery-style pizza dough (1lb)
- 1 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes - cut in half (aprox. 8 oz. whole)
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 3-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Cooking spray
- 12-14” aluminum pizza pan
- Remove dough from packaging and let stand at room temperature for a half hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Slice the tomatoes in half. Place in a bowl and add dried oregano, salt, and olive oil; mix well together.
- Spray the bottom of a 12” pizza/baking pan with cooking spray. Spread pizza dough out over the pan and poke holes with the tines of a fork. Place the tomatoes on the dough (without liquid) and gently press into the dough (so they sink a bit). Place pan into preheated oven until the bottom and top are golden brown.
- Let the focaccia rest for a bit before cutting into it.
- Alternatives: sprinkle some grated Parmesan/Romano cheese over the focaccia during the last 10 minutes of baking.
Note: All ovens differ so you may need to adjust temperature and time. I prefer to cook in the lower two thirds of the oven to prevent burning.
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