"Pizza" Focaccia with Tomato Sauce & Green Onion

December 23, 2021
22 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Makes 1 9x13-inch sheet
Author Notes

This focaccia is inspired by the “pizza” focaccia I worship from Liguria Bakery. The one that's topped with tomato sauce and chopped green onions, and despite its name, lacks cheese of any kind. When I moved to New York nine years ago, I felt its loss keenly, thinking of it sometimes twice a day. This version is my attempt to pay homage. To that thin layer of jammy tomato sauce across its top that lends it an almost doughy texture that, when coupled with the crunch of the crisp bottom and the uniquely tight, yet light crumb of the interior, makes for the world's most perfect bite. To heavy-handed scallion application that infuses it with an indispensable savoriness that's at once gentle and intense. It's impossible for me to see bakery twine and not crave it. You wouldn't be doing anyone a disservice by topping this, warm from the oven, with a big spoonful of ricotta. —Ella Quittner

Test Kitchen Notes

An old-school yeasted flatbread, focaccia is considered “an early prototype of modern pizza,” according to the exhaustive by Lynne Olver, “thought by some to have originated with the Etruscans or Ancient Greeks.” Over these many years, unsurprisingly, it has had innumerable iterations. It is typically savory but could also be sweet. Toppings range from sage to rosemary, garlic to onion, tomatoes to grapes, and then some. Even the shape could be round or square or rectangular. Nowadays, finger-dimpled focaccia is all but synonymous with an immodest amount of olive oil, which yields a delightfully crisp, practically fried crust. As Marc Vetri notes in *Mastering Pizza*, “many people think that focaccia is basically naked pizza.” This is sort of, but not completely, accurate. He continues, “Pizza al taglio is more like a small meal. But focaccia is more like bread. It’s simpler.” In this recipe from Ella Quittner, however, it is not. Savory tomato sauce and bright scallions make it much closer to a pizza. And, of course, the world is your oyster (or, uh, pepperoni?) to play around. Use what you have on hand or what you’re craving. Is there another green you want to show off instead of scallions? A grated cheese you want to sprinkle on top before baking, like mozzarella? And what about spooning on some burrata just before serving? Why not? The result would not be traditional focaccia or traditional pizza—but an untraditional focaccia pizza to bring a lot of people a lot of joy.

Read more here: The Saucy Tomato Bread I've Thought About Every Day for 16 Years. —The Editors

What You'll Need
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"Pizza" Focaccia with Tomato Sauce & Green Onion
  • 1 cup slightly warm water (222 grams) (it should feel just a tiny bit warmer than your body temperature to the touch)
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (7 grams)
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour (300 grams), plus about 1/3 cup more for kneading
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (7 grams), plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (28 grams), plus 3 tablespoons olive oil (42 grams), plus 1/2 cup olive oil (110 grams)
  • 3/4 cup chopped scallions (the green part), divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
  • 1 cup canned crushed or pureed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  1. Add water to a large bowl, then add the yeast and gently stir. Let sit for 5 minutes, until little bubbles start to appear at the top of the water. Add the flour, salt, and olive oil, and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until a shaggy, wet dough forms. Lightly cover a surface with about 1/3 cup flour, and pour the dough onto floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes, until dough is smooth, homogenous, and sticky. If you poke it gently, it will spring back in about 5 seconds to fill the poke mark. (Note: You can make the dough in a stand mixer with a dough hook instead, if you prefer—do the yeast dissolution in the stand mixer, and add the flour, salt, and oil, then mix with the dough hook for 3 to 4 minutes. Be sure to sprinkle in another 1/3 cup or so of flour gradually as you mix to get the same texture as you would by hand-kneading on a floured surface.)
  2. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to a clean bowl, and swirl the bowl around to ensure the sides are greased. Form a loose ball of your dough, and transfer it to the oiled bowl, then gently flip it so both sides are covered in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, until it roughly doubles in size.
  3. Add 1/2 cup olive oil to the bottom of a 9x13-inch cake pan. (This will feel like a lot of oil, but it gets absorbed by the dough as it cooks and makes the most amazing crust.) Transfer your dough to the pan and gently stretch it to fit the dimensions. It will feel like the consistency of soft chewing gum. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of green onions and a large pinch of salt across the top. On top of the green onions, use your fingers to slather the tomato puree, avoiding the edges where the dough meets pan (the sauce will burn). Loosely cover and let the dough proof in the pan for 30 minutes, until it’s puffed up.
  4. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 475° F. Once the dough has puffed up, it's time for the most fun part of making focaccia: poking it all over with your fingertips to make dimples. Do this, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the un-sauced edges are a toasty color where they touch the pan, and the pizza-like bubbles that have puffed up across the surface are tinged dark brown in the centers.
  5. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining green onion, a drizzle of olive oil, and more salt to taste. You can slice and eat it as soon as it cools a bit. Refrigerate to store.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Gina Cucina
    Gina Cucina
  • LyndsayW
  • Eve Cuny
    Eve Cuny
  • Sophia
  • Hollis Ramsey
    Hollis Ramsey

25 Reviews

Gina C. February 4, 2023
I've made this so many times and I finally sat down to leave a review! It is outstanding and so easy.
LyndsayW January 16, 2022
DELICIOUS. Used fire roasted crushed tomatoes and followed everything else to the exact letter. This was my first bread making experience and I couldn’t be happier. My wife was on standby to order Dominos just in case I messed up but this recipe and the instructions were fool-proof. Thank you!
philp August 24, 2021
Outstanding. We live in napa so routine commutes to Liguria not possible, but even with my limited skill, using regular flour and topping with raos marinara it turned out amazing. Thank you
philp August 24, 2021
Ps wish I could add a photo. It was beautiful
Tam February 11, 2021
I made this exactly as written, by the weight. Yummy. I too love Liguria's "pizza" focaccia, but dang this pandemic, can't fly in to get them. OMG, I forgot how good the carmelized scallions are. I didn't use the whole 1 cup of crushed tomato because I was worried the weight would interfere with the final rise of the bread. However, wherever there was a glob of tomato, it was superior, next time I will use the whole cup. I strained and crushed San Marzano tomato, so good. Simple and delicious. Thank you.
savedbytheapron October 19, 2020
This was excellent and very straightforward to make - the whole family loved it and now it is one of our staples!
Leslie V. April 23, 2020
Your recipe is spot on! My husband is 3 generation San Franciscan and grew up eating Liguria’s famous tomato focaccia. We live in Laguna Niguel now and like you, miss our favorite focaccia.
I found your focaccia recipe and made it last week. My husband and kids told me that when they tried my focaccia, they were transported back to SF. Your recipe is amazing! Thank you for sharing this recipe.
One question, there is a huge shortage of yeast right now because of the quarantine. I was able to purchase Red Saf Instant yeast. Do I use the same amount of yeast?
Eve C. October 25, 2019
Oh, how I miss this focaccia from Liguria bakery after leaving SF a few years ago. I make focaccia regularly, but was never sure how to duplicate my all-time favorite, so thank you for this! I used to have them cut it up into strips I could eat while walking around the area.
Kkoeh4 January 24, 2019
You had me at Liguria. I miss this place so much. Making this tonite
Sophia January 10, 2019
This focaccia was amazing! So satisfying to cut into, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The tomato and the green onion really elevated this bread- the green onion gives a really gentle sweetness you don't really expect from it, while the tomato delivers the umami :D 10/10, would bake again.
Ella Q. January 10, 2019
I'm so happy you liked it, Sophia! Thanks for the note :)
okaykate January 4, 2019
This looks awesome. I don't have a 9x13 cake pan but I have a sheet pan, think this could successfully be used instead or does the bread need the extra height to climb the sides of the pan? thanks!
Ella Q. January 5, 2019
Hi Kate,

That should be fine, so long as the sheet-pan has rims (so the oil doesn't spill over and burn on your oven floor). Just stretch out the dough to roughly the correct dimensions on the sheet pan (with room around the sides) instead of stretching it all the way out to the pan's dimensions. Let me know how it goes! :)

okaykate January 5, 2019
Thanks Ella! I'll let you know how it works out!
ErinM724 December 3, 2018
I made this last night. It was really tasty, and I learned a few things....including to use the full cup of tomato sauce! However, I do have a question. I felt that there was a little bit of a bitter aftertaste, nothing off putting, but something I'm wondering if I can correct. Used my California Ranch EVOO....I notice the recipe just calls for olive oil. Should i have used something different?
ErinM724 December 3, 2018
I ask because the smoke point of EVOO is 410 deg F and the bread bakes at 475 deg F...
Hollis R. October 12, 2018
this must be a trick. it sounds WAY too easy. but i'll give it a go, for sure. i've always believed that i could happily live on good water and fresh-baked bread. if i had to. definitely fresh-baked bread. any time, all the time. Maldon's flaky sea salt for topping, and either Sciabica's basil, jalapeno, lemon, or Mediterranean blend EVOO to finish.
Tracy October 9, 2018
Omg good! Just pulled focaccia out of the oven and ate a slice. Light and airy bread! The concentrated pureed tomato and sliced green onions were a perfect complement to the bread. I sprinkled a chili garlic flavored olive oil on top. Thank you!
Ella Q. October 10, 2018
Hi Tracy,

Thanks for your comment! I'm glad you like the focaccia—the chili-garlic oil sounds like an incredible touch.

Jill October 8, 2018
Delicious! My husband and I had to make ourselves stop eating this. My husband doesn't care for green onions, so I used carmelized onions and it was fantastic. Super easy. I was excited that I actually made focaccia!
Ella Q. October 8, 2018
Hi Jill,

I'm so happy the recipe worked well for you! The caramelized onion sub sounds excellent.

Renée R. October 6, 2018
Made this for dinner tonight. I have never been to Liguria. Therefore I have nothing to compare it with. All I can say is that I made it exactly as written and it is SPECTACULAR! Couldn't be easier. This is going into my permanent collection. Bravo, Ella, bravo!
Ella Q. October 7, 2018
Hi Renee,

I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed it! :)

bakedziti October 5, 2018
So anxious to try. I grew up with Liguria. Always worth the grumpiness. The best. Thanks.
Ella Q. October 5, 2018
Agreed! In fact, it sort of made the whole experience that much more special for me. :) I'd love to know what you think when you try my take!