Pizza – All about the Pan


So, back in the day, my family owned a pizzeria in Orange, NJ.

It’s still there – Toast of the Town- but it’s not in the family any longer.

My mom worked there with her aunt Mary back when mom and dad first got married. She ripped the tops off her gym socks to make a sweatband on hot nights while Aunt Mary screamed out number 69.

Welcome to my Family.

So, while we no longer have the pizzeria, we do still have… drum roll… the pizza pans!

Mom has one and grandma has one. I’ve been jonesing for one.

And now, finally, this beauty is mine.


Do you see the perfectly seasoned pan? Do you understand that no matter what I did my pizza would not taste the same as my mom’s or grandma’s because no matter how i seasoned or topped it, it was not baked on this pan.

Until now.

My grandfather recently passed away and we are cleaning out my grandparents’ house and moving grandma into a cute little apartment. She no longer cooks for herself, so when mom asked what I wanted from the house, I asked for the pan.

Now, my Friday night pizza tastes just like mom’s.

Pizza night is such a great family tradition that we’ve been doing as long as I can remember. All you have to do is buy good dough (our grocery store has great frozen dough), defrost it in the morning and then stretch it, top it and bake it when you get home.

Drizzle some olive oil on the pan so the dough doesn’t stick and place your stretched dough on the pan.


Add canned pizza sauce


Shredded mozzarella


Slice pepperoni (because dad says you can’t have pizza without pepperoni)


And bake at 425 for about 15 minutes.





And mangia!


Pepperoni and String Beans

You read that title, scratched your head, wrinkled your nose and said what?

No, this is not a joke.

This is pepperoni and string beans.

You’ve never heard of it?

I don’t think anyone outside of my dad’s family has really. It’s not an Italian dish. It’s not… well, I don’t think it’s any kind of dish.

Our guess is that my grandma had six hungry kids on her hands and only pepperoni, string beans and some tomato paste in the cabinets and she just shrugged and said, eh, why not?

Did I mention my grandma had six kids, no dishwasher and no driver’s license?

So if the kids were hungry and grandpa wasn’t home, whatever was in the house would have to become dinner. Somehow.

I’m guessing that’s how this concoction came into being.

My mom always makes this down the shore. I’ve never made it for my boyfriend before, not because I think that he’ll think it’s weird, but because I’ve never had it anywhere but down at our shore house.

Isn’t that weird?

There’s certain foods that have such a strong association with certain places that I just can’t imagine eating them anywhere else.

So while we were away with my parents over the weekend, mom decided to make it.

Our kitchen down the shore is equally as itty bitty, just not so city.

So this post comes to you from my mom in her itty bitty but not so city kitchen.

For this dish you will need can of tomato paste, canned string beans, pepperoni (sliced).

You can add as many cans of green beans and as much pepperoni as you need to feed your troop.

The only key here is that the tomato paste be added with water in a 3 parts water to 1 part tomato paste ratio.

Fool proof method? 3 cans of water (using the tomato paste can) per one can of tomato paste.

Ready? Dump everything in a pot.


Cover with a lid and cook over medium. Stir it every once in a while.

It’s the perfect thing to throw together and let hang on the stove while you hang on the beach. Whenever someone goes back to the house for a snack or a potty break, just ask them to give the pot a stir.

The longer it simmers, the spicier the tomato broth gets as the pepperoni seeps into it.

The next day it’s even spicier.


Spoon out into bowls and have some crusty bread ready.

A bowl of this always makes me think of summer at the beach.

What dishes have that kind of association with a place for you?

I’d love to hear them!