Pizza Rules

Sacred (and Secret) Dough Recipe at Root of Vallozzi’s Pizza Tradition

By / Photography By Michael Fornataro | April 01, 2015
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Vallozi's Basilicata and Sicilian Pizzas
LEFT: Fennel sausage, basil, cherry tomato ragout, and provolone are a wonderfully palatable foursome on the Basilicata pizza. Throw in a handful of lemon arugula for good measure, and you’ve got yourself a little slice of heaven. RIGHT: One of Vallozzi’s most popular dishes, the Sicilian, presented here by Chef de Cuisine Steve Lanzilotti, combines fresh tomatoes; provolone and Romano cheeses; Italian herbs; and spices, proving that when done right, this classic pie never goes out of style.

Only three souls in the entire universe know how to make the pizza dough served at Vallozzi’s Pittsburgh: owner Julian Vallozzi, his father, and the restaurant’s executive chef, Josiah Henry.

The sacred recipe was passed down to Vallozzi by his late grandmother, and in our experience, it produces dough unlike any you’ve ever tasted. It’s hearty, yet flaky — almost like a pastry crust — and conveniently versatile. The phyllo-like shells can withstand the weight of most ingredients, which makes them super easy to customize. Henry has crafted everything from steak pizzas, to seafood pizzas, to fruit tarts — the possibilities are endless. His most recent menu addition is the Amatriciana, a classic Italian pie with spicy tomato sauce and pancetta.

“The pizza here is not a fast process,” says Vallozzi of his team’s precise cooking method. It all starts with the dough, which is then portioned, rolled, and pre-baked to form that sturdy, signature shell. After toppings are added, the shells undergo one more round of oven time before they’re ready to be eaten.

The workload is intimidating; the final product, delectable. These pies are totally worth the wait.


At Vallozzi’s Downtown location, the personal four-cut pizzas are immensely popular, and by no means difficult to consume in one sitting. If you insist on sharing, though, we’d recommend ordering a variety. After all, a little mixing n’ matching never hurt anyone.


  • “Never divulge all of your secrets.”
  • “Always make your own dough.”
  • “Make sure your ingredients are fresh.”


“Any type of mushroom. And eggs!”

“The Vallozzi tradition influences my pizzas. I make them in honor of those who’ve made them before me. Following in the family’s footsteps is inspiring.” — Josiah Henry, Vallozzi’s Pittsburgh

Find it

220 5th Ave., Downtown.
Pittsburgh, PA
Article from Edible Allegheny at
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