Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chicago Style Deep-Dish Pizza

After all the holiday fun and food, I randomly decided to make deep dish pizza tonight. I also made fish tacos last night. Did you know I make fish tacos a lot? Oh, you.

My dad grew up in Chicago. I have been to Chicago more times than I can count. And I have had plenty of Chicago Style pizza. Lots of good. Lots of bad. But, I am definitely no expert. I just know I love it.

To me, the key to good deep dish pizza is first: the crust. Pretty obvious. And it needs to be soft, buttery and flakey on the inside and golden and crispy on the outside. The other key to a good deep dish pizza is the sauce. It HAS to be amazing. I am extremely picky when it comes to tomato sauces. It can't be too sweet and can't have to many complicated dry spices in it. This recipe satisfies both of these requirements, as far as I am concerned.

This recipe makes two 9 inch pies. I pulled a Martha Stewart and made both and froze one. God, I am domestic. I obviously can't tell you how the frozen one turned out, but I can tell you that I froze it after I assembled (but before baking). 

And I labeled it. Makes me feel organized, even though I hardly freeze anything and totally have a mental inventory of what is in my freezer. Rubber bands? Good question.

I do have to give a few shout outs. I found out about this recipe via Annie's Eats. Then, since I didn't have access to the original recipe from Cook's Illustrated, I googled the recipe to find the original typed out (not halved like Annie's) and found this which I used too: The Food Spot.

Lastly, I have to say that anytime I am trying a new pizza recipe or tasting one of "the best" pizzas out there, I always go for very simple toppings (in this case: bottomings). And pepperoni is my ultimate favorite, so that is what I added. Sausage would also be great.

Chicago Style Deep-Dish Pizza
slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

For Dough:
3 1/4 cups (16 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water (10 ounces), room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon olive oil

For Sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup onion, grated
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

For Pizza:
4 tablespoons of olive oil
16 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 4 cups)
1/2 ounce of parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
6-8 slices of pepperoni (optional)

Prepare Dough: Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, run on low speed for about 1 minute. While still running on low, add the water and melted butter and mix until fully combined–scrape down the sides as needed. Increase the speed to medium.  Allow to run until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the bowl, about 5 minutes. It should be fairly smooth and only slightly tacky.

Coat a large bowl with 1 tsp olive oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Turn the dough ball once or twice to coat lightly with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until nearly doubled.

Prepare Sauce: While waiting for dough to rise, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until the onion turns golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Stir in tomatoes and sugar and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering until the sauce is reduced to 2 1/2-3 cups (about 30 min). Before using, stir in shredded basil and oil, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Laminate Dough: Remove the risen dough from the bowl and roll it out on a dry work surface into a large rectangle (approx 15 x 12 inches). Spread the softened butter over the dough. Leave about 1/2-inch along edges unbuttered (this will allow the dough to seal again). Roll dough into a cylinder starting from the shorter side. Place seam-side down and gently flatten into an 18 x 4 rectangle. Cut rectangle in half to make two 9 x 4 smaller rectangles. Set one of the halves aside for the moment.

Take the other half and fold into thirds like business letter (the top folds about a third of the way down, then the bottom comes up to cover it). Pinch the seams together to seal it into a taught ball, don’t force the dough too much or it may tear. Repeat with remaining half. Place the two balls into oiled bowls and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in the refrigerator until nearly doubled in volume, 40 to 50 minutes.

Assemble Pizza: Adjust oven rack to a lower position and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Oil two 9-inch round cake pans (or cast iron skillet) with 2 tablespoons olive oil each. One at a time, roll out the dough balls to make 13-inch disks about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough to baking pan. Press the dough into the pan and 1 inch up the sides. If dough is tough and resists stretching, let it relax for at least 5 minutes before trying again. Layer on half of the shredded mozzarella, pepperoni and sauce. Top with half of the grated parmesan cheese.

Repeat with remaining dough and ingredients.

Bake the Pizza: Bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

(Servings: 4-6, Prep time: 2.5 hrs., Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Intermediate)

foodforscot Ratings:  

Shanon (taste):  9/10
Scot (taste):  9/10
Effort:  5/5
Effort:  5/5


  1. 9/10...wow! I need to make this pizza as soon as I can. I trust that you are an expert...and since I'm certainly not...I'm going to be sure to use your recipe. Your pizza looks so very good! I hope you are having a lovely week. Thank you for always sharing such great eats with me.

  2. You are speaking to my soul with this recipe. Deep dish pizza is just so amazing but there is nowhere good to get it in NYC. Have to make it myself!