NYC Square Pizza with Vodka Sauce & Cupping Pepperoni

The square pie deserves more respect. And it happens to be much easier to replicate at home than other pizza styles.

1 pizza

Time: 1 hr 15 mins

By Ethan Chlebowski

Classic NYC circular pizza is good, but if I have to pick one slice from the city, it’s gotta be the square vodka sauce pie with pepperoni cups.

Ethan Chlebowski

Ethan Chlebowski



  • 70% hydration dough

    • bread flour
      300 g
    • water
      , warm
      210 g
    • sugar
      10 g
    • olive oil
      10 g
    • salt
      6 g
    • instant yeast
      4 g
  • Vodka sauce

    • whole peeled tomatoes
      800 g1 28oz can
    • heavy cream
      ~60 g
    • olive oil
      15 ga spoonful
    • garlic
      , minced
      2-3 cloves
    • dried oregano
      a sprinkle
    • calabrian chilies
      , minced
      a spoonful
    • vodka
      a splash
    • salt
      to taste
  • Toppings

    • olive oil
      for the pan
    • pepperoni
      1 whole stick
    • low-moisture mozzarella
      150 g
    • picante provolone
      50 g


Step 1: Mix the dough

Add the dough ingredients to a bowl and mix until a sticky dough forms. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

Step 2: Start the sauce

While the dough rests, start the sauce. In a sauce pot, drizzle in the olive oil and bring to medium heat. Add the garlic, oregano, and Calabrian chilies to for a minute or so before with the vodka. Add the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a .

Cover and stir occasionally while you attend to the dough.

Step 3: Knead & proof the dough

Back at the dough,  it for about 5 minutes until it passes the : tear off a piece and stretch it until very thin and translucent without tearing. Set a bowl over the top of the dough (or cover with plastic wrap) and let rise for 30 minutes.

Use this resting time to finish the sauce.

Step 4: Finish the sauce

Once the sauce has been for at least 15 minutes or the tomatoes have broken down and softened, turn off the heat and blend it completely smooth: use an immersion blender, food processor, or standard blender. Return the blended sauce to the pan.

With the heat still off, stir in the heavy cream. Adjust the seasoning with salt to taste.

Step 5: Prep the pan, oven, & toppings

Get out a square metal pizza pan (although a baking sheet will work). Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan, enough to spread and coat the entire surface.

  • Toss the dough in and stretch to the edges. If it springs back before reaching the edges of the pan, it will need to rest for a final 10-20 minutes so you can fully stretch it to the corners.

Preheat the oven to 450°F/232°C.

Finally, prep the toppings. Grate the cheeses and cut the pepperoni into 36 ~1/8” (3-5mm) slices.

  • If you want to get the cupping pepperoni effect, you can’t use presliced pepperoni and you can’t make the slices too thin (or overly thick).
  • ~1/8” slices seem to be the sweet spot for pepperoni that will curl up during high-heat baking.

Step 6: Assemble the pizza

To assemble, stretch the relaxed dough to the edges of the pan, add a layer of sauce to the very edges of the pan, an even layer of the grated cheeses, and finally, add exactly 36 pepperonis in a grid pattern so each slice can end up with 4 pepperonis on it.

Step 7: Bake

Slide the pan into the middle rack of the preheated 450°F/232°C oven and  for about 20 minutes or until the crust is golden & crispy, and the cheese is bubbly.

Slide the cooked pizza onto a cooling rack to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and enjoying.



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