146: Deep dish pizza

(The pond at sunrise this morning.)

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.

(Early sign of spring.)

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:

(What happens under the snow — the secret revealed!)

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.

Enjoy!  😀

31 Comments on “146: Deep dish pizza”

  1. I’ll try out this recipe, Robin. We like making our own pizza and this is different to what we have made before. I remember Oprah doing a show where she wanted to find the best pizza parlour in Chicago!

    Those little green buds popping up through the ground look great! Do you think they will survive the cold before the spring reaches you? I hope you will take photos of the growing bulbs as they progress. Do you know, the temperature is way too warm here to grow bulb plants?

    • Robin says:

      Joanne: I didn’t see the Oprah show concerning pizza but I’m betting she didn’t find it (the best pizza parlour in Chicago) since everyone has their own opinion on which one is The Best. lol! My vote would go to Giordano’s:


      I’ve never attempted to make a stuffed pizza but I do have the recipe for it. It’s one of the three I mentioned in this post.

      As for the little green buds, they might survive if we don’t thaw out too much (which I don’t think we will). Snow will cover them again for a while and they’ll hibernate there until the real thaw. I hope.

      I had no idea you couldn’t grow bulb plants there. How fascinating!

  2. Karma says:

    Ooh! I am intrigued by this recipe! I will definitely have to try it.

    Kathy posted a pussy willow picture today too! I haven’t seen pussy willows in a really long time. I enjoyed seeing yours!

  3. Your snow is melting!! And your pond doesn’t look frozen solid anymore. How nice to see all those fresh green signs of spring…. I haven’t noticed any of that here yet, everything is still brown. Maybe I just need to look a little closer?
    That pizza is making me HUNGRY!

  4. boatacrosstheriver says:

    What a great picture of the snow receding, and those green shoots popping up…fascinating. I had no idea things like that were happening in February.

    • Robin says:

      You have to really look for it, BATR. Being outside every day for this challenge has made me look very closely at things (usually in search of color this time of year!).

  5. patbean says:

    I could almost smell the pizza. Looked yummy.
    Pat Bean

  6. Marianne says:

    Beautiful sunrise, Robin.
    The new growth looks promising and the pizza looks very, very yummy.

    Day 5 down too. It feels good to be doing Qigong again also. Thanks for the challenge.

  7. The pizza looks WONDERFUL (I’m a sucker for home made pizza)! It is SO nice to see signs of Spring, new growth after (what feels like) such a long winter! 🙂

    • Robin says:

      Thanks, Holly. 🙂

      It does seem like it was a long winter, doesn’t it? I think it might actually have been a little shorter than usual, but I’m not sure. I should go back and look at blog posts from last winter.

  8. I love seeing the early signs of Spring! There’s something very refreshing about green poking up amidst the crunchy brown stuff. Speaking of crunchy brown stuff…that pizza crust looks amazing. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  9. Lovely – those early signs of greenery are great to see, finally! Yay! The food looks delicious and it gets me hungry when it’s way too late to eat here.

  10. penpusherpen says:

    mmMmMmm, totally overwhelmed by the recipe and the pizza, I can almost smell the tasty and delicious aroma…and loving the signs of Spring, our bluebells are trying to push their heads thro’ and Bess is trying her best to kill hem off by choosing to ‘wee’ on them … All the garden to choose from and she picks their spot!! Hmmf!! I give up… 😉

  11. bearyweather says:

    Thanks for the recipe …. hope I get a chance to try it real soon.

  12. Anna says:

    Amazing photos! I love the spring budding and snow. I’ve noticed early spring buds on our trees in the backyard. Yummy pizza and great recipe!

  13. milkayphoto says:

    You are so lucky to be able to walk around your landscape! I tried today but the snow is still so deep in our yard that I go from walking on top to suddenly being 2 feet deep. Didn’t make for a pleasant walk! 🙂

    I think I have the SAME recipe for the deep dish pizza! Haven’t made it in quite a few years but I agree, a cake pan works jsut fine. Yum!

  14. Kel says:

    we went to Pizano’s when in Chicago
    it was just around the corner from our hotel

    now I have a recipe to try and recreate a Chi pizza

  15. […] Back at home, I took Andre out to look around to see if we could find any signs of life, like Kathy’s pussy willows or Robin’s green shoots. […]

  16. Barbara Rodgers says:

    Wonderful cheerful pussy willows and crocuses… Do you get snowdrops, too?

    I wonder if there are any good gluten-free pizza recipes out there? When I found a couple of local restaurants that served gluten-free I stuffed myself after years of no pizza! I was amazed how good it tasted!

    • Robin says:

      We do get snowdrops, Barbara. They pop up at the back of the pond, near the woods.

      I would think there is a gluten-free pizza recipe to be found somewhere. I used to be on a gluten-free diet and my husband, who does the baking around here (including making the pizza crusts), managed to find a lot ways to make breads and crusts gluten-free.

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