Pizza a la Giovanni

Source:  Giovanni Cir. 1970’s
(Giovanni had his own Pizza ristorante in San Jose, CA)

the pizza maker Giovanni and me
the pizza maker Giovanni and me

Pizza a la Giovanni came about quite organically (literally!). I met Giovanni in 2009 at the organic vegetable stand that we frequent on Saturday’s. He was a nice older Italian man, with a heavy accent. Being from 100% Italian descent, I was interested to talk with him, learn where he came from, etc.

We scheduled a luncheon with him and my family at our ranch. He stated he was a retired pizza maker, and that he would make the pizza. Agreed….

Now, I’ve been making, or trying to make pizza for years. I was pretty happy with my results, but knew it wasn’t ‘restaurant’ quality at all. I struggled with inconsistent results. Hell, I believed I needed a special oven to achieve a good quality result. I was in for a huge shock and realized I had a lot of improvements to make to my recipe.

The image of perfection!

Giovanni’s pizza was sheer perfection. The dough was truly perfect! Thick, airy, light…wow!

As you know, I cook using 100% organic ingredients. Giovanni’s ingredients were not organic, and I felt perhaps that was also a difference with our successes. With his flour for example, they are enhanced with starters and fast rising elements that organic flour does not have. Just an excuse, and a bit of ignorance to my pizza making knowledge. It all boiled down to a few missing elements in my recipe. I now make pizza with confidence. My dough is perfect, the toppings are to my liking, and I never have a problem with the dough sticking to the pizza tray. It’s sheer perfection, just as Giovanni taught me.

When I hear the words, “It’s like Giovanni’s” – that is all I need to hear! Giovanni and the family continued our Pizza pleasure on a regular basis. He taught me a lot about food, wine making, vinegar making, making grappa, and just learning to enjoy food as a culture.

Print Pin
5 from 1 vote

Pizza a la Giovanni

The most authentic pizza recipe around!
Buon appetito!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Pizza
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rising Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 5 people


  • 900 gr flour 7.5 cups
  • 20 gr fresh yeast
  • 1 – 2 medium potatoes cooked and mashed with skin off
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 – 2 cups water lukewarm & enough water until consistency is achieved



  • Ingredients to make 2 large pizza’s Begin to boil 1 potato until soft and ready for mashing. Prepare the yeast with about 1 c. water (luke warm). Add yeast and water together, and let yeast dissolve and bind with the water.
  • In a large bowl, add flour, salt,
  • olive oil, and mashed potato.
  • Add water-yeast mixture
  • and combine
  • now add the water and kneed
  • until a nice supple ball is formed. This should take about 5-10 min. Cover and let rise, minimum 2 hours. (or put in a clean plastic bag and put in refrigerator)


  • When dough is ready, cut in half, and on a floured surface, begin to form into a large flat circle. Use your fingers, not a rolling pin. Just begin to push from the center, and form a large round shape.
  • When dough is the size of your pizza pan, place on pan.
  • prepare your cheese
  • Begin with olive oil on dough, then tomato paste,
  • then sauce,
  • cheese,
  • and toppers.
  • Bake @ 200ºC or 375ºF until pizza is brown and crusty. Now precut
  • Usually 20-25 min. cut and serve.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Permanent link to this article:

1 comment

    • marisa gratny on 23/11/2017 at 03:59
    • Reply

    Off the hook delicious!!!!
    Super easy recipe… I was a bit nervous trying to make my own dough .. but it’s really easy. Easy to follow directions and delicious outcome! Will become a weekly staple in my house. No more take out or frozen! The kids love it!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.