Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

I love to make pizza, and am a firm believer that you can eat as much “junk food” as you want if you make it yourself! Knowing the ingredients and preparation method of the food I eat allows me to indulge, and pizza is my all time favorite indulgence. As much as I enjoy thin crust, Italian style pizzas, I am forever a deep-dish, Chicago-style pizza lover. This pizza really puts the “pie” in pizza pie. I love how you slice it into big, thick wedges that are oozing with cheese on top of a sturdy, buttery crust. Layered with Italian sausage, peppers and onions, and topped with a chunky, garlicky tomato sauce, it does not get much better than this! Have fun with the filling and flavors, pizza is a ready canvas for delicious experimentation. Enjoy!

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza
Hearty sausage, thick tomato sauce, and a buttery crust make this the perfect deep dish pizza.

Serves 8
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 T yellow cornmeal
2 tsp. salt
2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast (one envelope)
2 T. olive oil
2 T. vegetable or canola oil
2 T butter, melted
1 cup + 2 T lukewarm water

¾ lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
¾ lb. Italian sweet or hot sausage, cooked and sliced
1 medium onion, diced and sautéed in olive oil to soften, along with…
1 green bell pepper, diced and sautéed in olive oil to soften
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 T extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 T dried Italian seasoning
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 14.5 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
1 14.5 oz. can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper

To make the crust: Add dry ingredients to the bowl of a food processor of stand-up mixer. Pulse to combine. Add wet ingredients and combine on medium speed, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, for about 7 minutes. Lightly flour a board and knead dough a few times, until you form a ball.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. Allow to rise undisturbed for 90 minutes.

Ready your 12” or 14" deep-dish pizza pan or cast-iron skillet by pouring in 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, tilting it to cover the bottom of the pan, and partway up the sides.

Stretch the dough to make as large a circle as you can. You can do this on a lightly oiled baking mat, if you choose; or simply stretch the dough in your hands.Stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan, then gently push it up the sides of the pan. The olive oil may ooze over the edge of the crust; that's OK. Let the crust rest for 15 minutes or so, and pre-heat your oven to 425°F.

Bake the crust for 12 minutes, until it is set and barely beginning to brown.

While it's baking, prepare the sauce: Pour the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and dried herbs, and sauté 1-2 minutes until garlic is golden. Add fire-roasted tomatoes with juices and cook for 5 minutes to reduce slightly, and then add tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes more.

Cover the bottom of the crust with the sliced mozzarella, fanning it into the crust. Add the sausage, onions and peppers, and then the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan.

Bake the pizza for about 30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and carefully lift it out of the pan onto a rack. A giant spatula is a help here. Allow the pizza to cool for about 15 minutes (or longer, for less oozing) before cutting and serving with extra parmesan.

Recipe by Sarah Lang