Copycat O'scugnizzo Pizza Recipe

Tuesday, April 5, 2016
pizza made with cheese on the dough then the raw meat topping sauce and baked unique to Utica, New York area

I grew up on this 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 than a normal pizza you're use 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 being the original. Most fans of this pizza who moved away may be a little critical but hey until you get home to get the real deal you will be pleasantly surprised. All comments welcome good or bad.

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

Here are the ingredients to get started on my copycat version:

My 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 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 more soggy)
I prefer to cook mine first and not have soggy middles so you choose. You can use whatever kind  of sausage you like.

 For the sauce I use either Tomato Magic sauce or Don Peppino canned you can find on the internet. I have tried San Marzano crushed tomatoes which are awesome but not the same in flavor.

Use only whole milk good grade mozzarella sliced thick. I used Sorrento and sliced it around 1/2 inch thick.

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

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, fontina, feta whatever your family likes. Make the combinations your family loves.

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

First I  stretch the dough out and use olive oil and flour so it stays in place, of course olive oil is the first choice on the cookie sheet but lard will keep it in the stretch position  and rise until its around 1 inch in thickness if you use that instead. (Also to eliminate calories stretch it out on parchment paper which is my personal first choice.) Either way the taste isn't effected because you will be brushing the dough with olive oil later in the recipe. 

 Then cook it at 430 degrees until its light brown on top around 15 minutes. In the meantime cook the sausage (although the original way is to add it raw first, then the cheese on the dough. Bake and add the sauce after its cooked)  if you are making it pictured above. Much more flavor using the raw version in which again I have heard that is how they make it.  Set aside cooked sausage in a bowl.  Remove cooked dough from oven. If you prefer a softer crust don't cook it first and that the the way they do it raw dough, that's how you get the soggy middles if you like them.  I love crispy bottoms pizza.

They have hot high heated pizza ovens and that makes a huge difference in the crust crispiness that's why I bake mine first also.

Now preheat oven to 475 degrees. 


Place cooked dough into a prepared pan  brushed with olive oil on the bottom. Add thick slices of mozzarella cheese on top of the dough. Add the cooked sausage or raw if you like and any other of  your favorite toppings you want to add (my favorite is the number 8 sausage pizza). Do not add the sauce yet.

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

Bake at 475 degrees until the pizza is cooked around 14 minutes or when cheese is perfectly melted. Immediately add the sauce on top straight out of the oven and a generous amount of parmesan romano cheese on top. Cut into 12 pieces and mangia! 
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!


  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!!


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