La Vera Cucina

Pizza alla Cipolla

Even today, the aroma of thinly sliced onions caramelizing in fragrant extra virgin olive oil transports Audubon, New Jersey, caterer Stephen Scaramuzzi back to his childhood! As a little boy, he remembers how good it smelled when he watched his grandmother begin preparing his favorite antipasto, which she called Pizza alla Cipolla (Chee-poe-lah), or Onion Pie.

A version of Sicilian style sfincione (svin-chee-oh-nay), the Scaramuzzis’ pizza alla cipolla is traditionally served after fully cooled from baking. Still, Stephen fondly recalls his grandmother treating him to freshly cut squares, still warm from the oven!


  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 or 4 large red onions
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup whole green Sicilian olives pitted/halved
  • 1 cup whole black olives pitted/halved
  • 1 cup ground unpeeled tomatoes
  • Cornmeal or semolina flour
  • ¼cup shaved Lucatelli or Romano cheese
  • 16 oz. pizza dough ball


Slice onions thinly. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté, stirring occasionally until onions are caramelized and golden brown. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in olives and ground tomatoes. Heat five to ten additional minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. When cooled, place onion mixture in stainless bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, lightly oil a 12” x 17” baking pan. Lightly dust pan with cornmeal or semolina. Stretch pizza dough to evenly cover the pan. Spread the onion, olive, and tomato mixture evenly over the dough. Allow assembled pie to rest at room temperature for 40 minutes before baking. Bake for 30 minutes at 370 degrees until dough has risen and bottom is golden brown. Remove from oven; dust evenly with Lucatelli or Romano cheese. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Slice into 3” squares. Serve at room temperature or slightly warmed.


About Sfincione (Svin-chee-oh-nay)

A pizza version originating in western Sicily, sfincione is known for its soft, bready crust and is often topped with a mixture of onions and tomatoes.It may also be seasoned with anchovies and/ or herbs. While some family sfincione recipes are cheeseless, others are lightly topped with robust cheese varieties. A popular “street food” in Sicily, sfincione is sold by vendors using scissors to cut square slices from larger pies!