What Exactly is a Grandma Slice Anyway?
Which one of these looks like your Grandma made it?
I have to say I was completely confused by the triangular slice of “grandma pizza” our Downtown Lunch correspondent Daniel Krieger posted about last Friday from Pizza Italia. Admittedly, I don’t know a ton about grandma pizza since my only exposure to it has been at the Jiannetto’s Pizza Truck on 47th btw. Park+Mad. But I was under the impression that the one common quality shared by all Grandma style pizzas is that the slices are rectangular, right? I checked in with Daniel, and he had this to say:
“Grandma slice has like a sweet/tangy sauce that I believe is slow stewed. I also just read somewhere its fresh tomatoes instead of canned but I don’t know if that’s accurate (someone said it on a board). It usually has fresh mozzarella on it and has the cheese on the bottom and then is covered with the sauce (as opposed to traditionally being vice versa). And is almost always a square baked pie like you said, not triangle. That’s why this one is a bit unique”
Wait- so what exactly makes this a grandma slice then? I decided to check in with the expert…
“Variations abound, but the basic outlines are as follows: a thin layer of dough is stretched into an oiled, square “Sicilian” pan, topped sparingly with shredded mozzarella, crushed uncooked canned tomatoes, chopped garlic and olive oil, and baked until the top bubbles and the bottom is crisp.”
Ok, so now we’re getting closer. Cheese on the bottom, tangy/chunky sauce on the top (which would indicate that it’s just crushed tomatoes, or a very fresh sauce that hasn’t been boiled down into a uniform sludge), and that it’s cooked in a Sicilian style pie pan (rectangle). But grandma style is much thinner than Sicilian.
So if Grandma Style pizza is a thinner version of Sicilian pizza, where the cheese is under the sauce and cooked in a pan (i.e. can be made at home by your Grandma) that would certainly include Jiannetto’s. Garlic, mozzarella, and olive oil are probably included or not included based on where you get it (Jiannetto’s uses parmesan instead.)
So I guess technically a grandma slice could be circular shaped, as long as it was thin, and cooked in a pan, and the cheese was under the sauce- right? Although Adam Kuban (the founder and editor of Slice) gets the last word: “I don’t think anyone just looking at that slice without context would ID that as ‘grandma style’!” Agreed.