Copycat O'scugnizzo Pizza

Tuesday, April 5, 2016
I grew up on this Oscugnizzo style pizza.

The pizzeria is in Utica New York and still open to date, it was founded in 1914 and many ex Uticans immediately go there that moved away when they go back home to visit!

This was my favorite hang out when I was 14 years old.

The pizza is famous for being an upside-down pizza (if you will) kind of interesting when it's assembled so different than a normal pizza you're used to.

The taste is nothing like anything else you have had before or the making of regular pizza.

For those who know it well and moved away this is as close as it gets to be the original.

Most fans of this pizza who moved away maybe a little critical but hey until you get home to get the real deal you will be pleasantly surprised.

My hometown had many originals when it came to Italian food, Utica was even known to be called Little Italy.

If you're familiar with Utica, maybe you remember some other famous food there?

Utica is famous for Tomato Pie, Italian Greens, Italian Lemon Ice, Pizza Fritta, Chicken Riggies, Manny's Cheesecake, Oscugnizzo Pizza, Pusties and Rosato Chocolate Cookies.

Scroll down and get my printable directions and recipe.

pizza made with cheese on the dough then the raw meat topping sauce and baked unique to Utica, New York area

A Favorite Pizza Parlor

Back in Utica, New York where I am originally from, we have the best Italian food in the world.

This pizza made by O'scugnizzo Pizzeria is one of the best pizza's around.

I love their number 8 on the menu, which is a sausage pizza with cheese.

Of course, nothing can compare to the original, this is as close as it gets when you move away.

If you go to their website you can order online!

Some Of The Differences

This pizza is really unique as the cheese goes on before the sauce.

They are all the secrets that make it unique.

All I could do is try and make the best Copycat O'scugnizzo Pizza as possible until I visit home again.

This will certainly take care of that craving until you can get there to eat the best upsidedown pizza around in Utica, New York.

this is a famous copycat pizza in a local restaurant in Utica New York this one has sausage, sauce and mozzarella on it

The Sauce and Suggestions

I love the sauce on this pizza, I use one I order online called Don Pepino.

It's hard to duplicate that taste, the color is a reddish-orange on the original pizza.

My take on that, it's tomatoes loaded with a lot of grated cheeses and if there is sausage on it, it looks orange.

Anyone that's ever eaten the sausage number 8 pizza knows what I mean.

It's very close to the taste they use.

If you are choosing to use canned tomatoes, stick with crushed or (whole tomatoes run through a food processor).

I tend to leave off the spices and have them in a shaker to add after the pizza is cooked like oregano, granulated garlic powder, and more grated cheese.

this is a pizza that is famous in Utica New York at Oscugnizzo and is considered an upside down pizza

Upside Down Pizza

A few things to know, pizza ovens in our homes are not 800 to 900 degrees so we improvised here.

To get the dough crispier I pre-cook it.

Also, here is the rule of thumb that makes this what is called an upside-down pizza, the sausage and the toppings go on first then the cheese.

Last is after it's cooked you spread it with fresh tomato sauce.

When I was taking the photos, this was going to be just a cheese pizza, so the photo with the cheese first is incorrect!

Remember toppings first, cheese next, cook and top with sauce in that order.

Then it's loaded up with freshly grated Parmesan and Romano cheese blended together.

My mouth is watering just thinking about this.

this is a pan of loose sausage frying for a topping on a pizza

A Delicious Pizza

No matter what you think, this is still a great pizza recipe, even if it's not the exact pie from their ovens.

Sausage, pepperoni, whatever you love put it on.

Make it your own version.

Hope you enjoy making this pizza, we sure love this style with the cheese hidden!

this is a famous copycat pizza in a local restaurant in Utica New York this one has sausage, sauce and mozzarella on it


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Mushroom Stew


this is a homemade dough and pizza with sauce and cheese on top with sausage

Copycat O'scugnizzo Pizza

Yield: 10
prep time: 25 Mcook time: 45 Mtotal time: 70 M
This is a copycat recipe from my hometown Utica New York famous pizzeria called O'scugnizzo. Living so far away from home and in Florida, nothing came close. This is not exact but it sure is similar in flavor and certainly their secret method of cooking.


  • My pizza dough recipe or if you choose to buy it then 1 1/2 pounds of store-bought dough. I use a cookie sheet which is in a rectangular style and the sides are around 2 inches high on the sides of my pan.
  • For a sausage pizza around 1 pound ( I hear they put it on raw and that will give the middles of the pizza much soggier)but the authentic way is raw sausage.
  • I prefer to cook the sausage first and drain it.
  • For the sauce: I use either  Don Peppino canned [pizza sauce you can find on the internet. 
  • I have tried San Marzano crushed tomatoes which are awesome but not the same in flavor..
  • Toppings choice suggestions:
  •  Sliced peppers, olives, pepperoni, eggplant, spinach, ricotta, mushrooms, anchovies, hot peppers, zucchini slices, shrimp and all kinds of cheeses you prefer like provolone and shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese. You can do a greek style if you like with feta cheese as well, or whatever your family likes. 
  • Make the combinations your family loves.


How to cook Copycat O'scugnizzo Pizza

  1. First, stretch the dough out with floured fingers on a rectangular style cookie sheet pan (the dough should rise to around 1/2 inch to 1 inch high).
  2. Pre-cook the dough at 430 degrees until its light brown on top around 15 minutes.
  3. In the meantime cook the sausage and drain it (or leave it raw if you want the original style way they add it to the dough raw.
  4. Note: since we don't have 800 to 900-degree pizza ovens in our homes, I always fry the sausage first and set it aside. Again the original recipe was said to add the sausage to the raw dough. I always want to ensure the pork is cooked.
  5. After the dough is partially cooked, add a little olive oil under the dough onto the pan. Put the dough back in the sheet pan.
  6. Add the toppings of choice first then 1/4 inch slices of mozzarella cheese on top evenly over the whole pizza pie.
  7. The sauce doesn't go on until after the dough is cooked, crispy, and the cheese is melted.
  8. Bake until the cheese melts and desired how dark the crust is browned.
  9. As soon as the pizza is cooked, take out the pizza and spread it with sauce and load it up with romano and parmesan cheese.
  10. No, it's not exactly like the best pizza in town but sure is close very close and will hold you over till you get to the best pizza in town!
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pizzeria style pizza, copycat o'scugnizzo pizza, Utica, n.y. foods. foods from Utica, pizza recipes, pizza pie, homemade pizza
Italian food, copycat, pizza recipes, copycat pizza
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this is a homemade dough and pizza with sauce and cheese on top with sausage

Utica is also noted for their "Famous Tomato Pie Click Here"

this is a pizza with sauce on top lots of grated cheese and cooked sausage all homemade


  1. Hai Claudia.... nice to visit U again. I fall in love instantly to your pizza here.. really appreciate step by step picture. thank U for sharing, pinning it!

  2. That's not upside down! The toppings always go on first, they use pizza shells instead of raw dough. I use only Spano's (I'm From Utica, still in area) which makes both round, and rectangle shells that are amazing! First the toppings-pepperoni, mushrooms, cooked peppers or onions etc, if you want sausage, you spread it across the uncooked crust evenly first, then simply pop it in a 400 degree preheated oven for about 5-7 mins on a high rack. This will partially cook the sausage which will finish cooking beneath the cheese afterwards. Then add any other desired toppings, finally, like you said ONLY WHOLE MILK MOZZARELLA!! So important for capturing the times when WHOLE MILK MOZZERELLA was all there was!!! Put back in 400 degree oven on middle rack for 15-20 mins depending on how you like. Finally you get a can of HUNTS ORIGINAL TOMATO SAUCE, and spread evenly over hot, cooked pizza. It is so simple it's insane!! My entire family is addicted to this pizza that tastes absolutely amazing!! P.S. Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese generously over entire pizza! Try it!!!! Just like O'scugnizzo's famous upside down pizza!!

  3. Oh this looks absolutely delicious! I loved the "upside down" deep dish pizza in Chicago, and this looks amazing too. With so much parmesan on top it's like the sauce is sandwiched in cheese. Amaaaazing!

  4. Love this! Homemade pizza is always the best, this one looks perfect!

  5. I make pizza with the cheese on first quite a bit too! This sounds great.

  6. How lovely to have a restaurant that's so sentimental to you (and many others!). Lovely copycat recipe that must bring back lots of memories.

  7. I've never been to this restaurant before but your version of their pizza looks AMAZING! I loved reading your story too about the history of the restaurant and how you used to hang out there. Brings back some of my own childhood memories of hanging out at the local pizzeria. :)


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