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One of the best things about doing this show for so long is that our guests become like family. In some cases, we've even gotten to see them grow up! Alessandra Ciuffo was just twelve years old the first time she was here and now she's a college graduate enrolled in culinary school in New York City! This pizza—made with a dough recipe from Nonna Gera and Nonno Antonio, the original owners of Lillian Pizzeria in Forest Hills, NY—is one of her favorite things to make. (The ginger is an unexpected, but great touch!)
"This is a beloved recipe in my house since my dad and I started making it when I was a kid. It's a simple pizza that is super delicious and shows off a lot of culinary techniques, such as cutting the onion the correct way and caramelizing onions. It makes an amazing appetizer or snack and is sure to be a crowd favorite." —Alessandra
Pro Tip from Alessandra: After rising for an hour, the dough can be refrigerated, covered, for up to two days. Let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before using it.
For the dough, sift the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the center. To the center, add the water, yeast, sugar and oil. Sprinkle the salt alongside the flour. Use a fork to combine the center of the well and then slowly begin to incorporate the flour a little at a time until a dough begins to form.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Use your hands to smooth the top and pinch at the bottom of the ball. Continue to roll the dough until it is smooth all around. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for about an hour.
For the pizza, preheat the oven to 450°F.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat them until they become soft and translucent. Add a pinch of salt to release their moisture, then add the ginger.
Continue cooking the onions over medium-low heat until they become a deep golden brown, about 45 minutes. If caramelized bits begin to stick at the bottom or sides of the pan, add a small amount of water to release them, then incorporate into the onions.
Meanwhile, on a floured surface, roll out the pizza dough in the shape of a rectangle about 15 x 10 inches. Drizzle a bit of olive oil at the bottom of a half sheet pan and then carefully transfer the dough to the pan, fitting and evening it out as needed.
Evenly spread the caramelized onions over the dough, then dot with the goat cheese and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.