146: Deep dish pizzaPosted: February 15, 2011
It’s a pretty day here in the Bogs. The sun has been shining with only a few thin clouds streaked across the sky. The wind has finally settled down and is coming to us from the south. Nice. It’s a little chillier than it has been the past few days, but that won’t last long. We start warming up again tomorrow.
The pussy willow is showing some early signs of spring. Maybe. I’m not sure. Those fuzzy things might be left over from the warm-up we had in November. I’m going to take the optimistic approach and think of them as an indication that spring will be arriving soon.
There is also this to consider:
The earth has been awakening under all that snow. Now that the snow is melting, we can start to see what’s been happening. Those bright, spring-green things are new growth. The crocuses, maybe. Or some other bulb sending up shoots.
It was very nice to see some new green growth. Of course this makes it official — I have spring fever. No doubt about it.
Day 5 of the 10-day yoga challenge was completed early this morning. I am enjoying both the yoga and the early morning. It’s nice to be up to watch the sunrise.
I promised you all a Chicago-style deep dish pizza recipe so let’s get to it. I originally got the recipe from a Chicago newspaper that attempted to come up with recipes for the three most famous pizza styles in Chicago. This one is supposed to replicate Pizzeria Uno’s style and flavor (before they became a franchise, when the flavor was still good).
I have changed the recipe enough over the years that it’s now mine. The version I’m about to give you is made with meat. I also make a vegetarian version which is basically a matter of putting together enough veggies (usually artichoke hearts, black olives, zucchini, yellow squash, a variety of peppers, and onions) to take the place of the meat. I do not use a deep dish pizza pan. I have not been able to find one deep enough to accommodate everything we put into and on our pizza when we make it. Instead, I use a large, round cake pan and have found it to be just right.
It should also be noted that in the recipe I’m about to give you, I have doubled the tomato mixture because we really like the tomatoes, onions, and peppers. If you prefer a thin layer of tomato flavor, cut the amount of tomatoes in half, use a small onion instead of a medium onion, and a small pepper instead of a medium pepper. The spice amounts stay the same no matter which way you decide to go. I left out the salt the original recipe called for because there is plenty of salt to be found in some of the other ingredients (especially the cheeses).
You can, if you wish, use a bread machine to prepare the crust. Just use the dough setting. The crust of this pizza is thick and somewhat doughy, especially in the corners where you spread the crust up the sides of the pan. It almost always seems to settle there. It’s not a typical pizza crust in texture or in flavor. It’s heartier, a little more rustic in flavor due to the cornmeal.
Not the best picture in the world (it looks a little better in the larger version so click on the picture if you want to see that) but in my defense, we’d been smelling the pizza cooking for almost an hour, I was hungry, it was nighttime so I had to use the kitchen lights, and I forgot to go back and take a photo of a slice of it which would have showed off the wonderful layers that happen inside a deep dish pizza. Sorry about that.
And now, the recipe.
Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 2-1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1-1/2 packages active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 3 to 3-1/2 cups flour
- Olive oil
Heat 1 cup water, shortening, sugar, and salt until shortening melts; cool to lukewarm. Soften yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Combine yeast and shortening mixtures in large bowl. Add cornmeal. Add 2 cups flour; beat well. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured board; knead until smooth and elastic, working in more flour as needed. Brush a round deep-dish pizza (or cake) pan (at least 2 inches deep) with olive oil. Press dough evenly over bottom and up sides of pan. Bake at 425 degrees F for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside until you’re ready to assemble your pizza.
Filling and topping:
- 2 cans (28-ounces) Italian or plum style tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium green pepper, chopped
- 1-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon oregano
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed (I generally don’t use this if I’m using Italian sausage since it’s in the sausage)
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 lb. Italian sausage (hot if you like it spicy)
- Pepperoni (This is optional. Use as little or as much as you like. You could also substitute some other meat, such as ham, if you like.)
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1 cup provolone cheese, grated
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated (I think I use closer to a 1/2 cup or more)
Drain tomatoes in colander; chop tomatoes and return to colander; set aside to drain.
If you’re using Italian sausage: The original recipe calls for removing the sausage from the casing and laying it raw in the pizza crust. This did not work out well for me the first time I made the pizza (it made the pizza too soggy and greasy) so I remove the sausage from the casing (or buy bulk sausage without the casing so I can skip this step) and brown the sausage over medium heat in a frying pan until it is cooked. I spoon it out onto some paper towels to absorb some of the grease. I leave a little of the grease/fat in the pan and proceed to the next step.
In 2 tablespoons olive oil (if using fat from the sausage, cut down on the olive oil), sauté onion, green pepper, garlic, and spices until onion and green pepper are tender. Stir in well-drained tomatoes; cook lightly. Remove from heat.
Crumble sausage into pizza crust. Arrange pepperoni slices over sausage. Sprinkle mozzarella and provolone cheeses on next, covering the meats as thoroughly as you can. Top with tomato mixture, spreading it evenly over mozzarella and provolone cheeses. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. If you like, sprinkle some oregano on top.
Bake at 425 degrees (F) for 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.