{Chicago} Deep Dish Pizza

.  Okay, it was only fitting that I whip this recipe out at some point during my tenure in Chicago.  I'm sure you all know by now how much I love this city [I swear I'm never leaving], so how could I resist trying out a recipe the city itself is known for?  Well...I couldn't.

As you surely know, Robbie and I love our pizza.  And we are very critical when it comes to determining what's good and what's not so good.  Unfortunately, he and I differ on whether thick crust or thin crust is better.  I, of course, go for the thick crust.  Who doesn't love the chewy bready-ness of a thick, deep dish pizza?

Ha, well Robbie.  He goes for the thin, crispy sort.  But he and I compromise over our pizza outings and try all different sorts.  We don't discriminate when it comes to pizza.

And when the [rare] occasion rolls around that I decide to make a homemade pizza from scratch, Robbie really has no say.  He gets what I make.  Sorry, love.

So Deep Dish it was.

But the wondrous thing of all?  This time we couldn't have been more on the same page.

This pizza is the real deal.

And by that I mean Robbie went so far to say that "we won't ever order Giordano's again."

Okay, okay.  Probably a little extreme.  But you gotta love his conviction.  And I won't complain when I hear a compliment from my fiance, who is easily my harshest baking critic.  In a loving way, that is.  So I'll take it!

But seriously...I can't even think of one simple tweak I would make to this recipe.  It's pure perfection.  Except maybe for the fact that it only makes two pizzas rather than four.  However, that's probably for my own good.

So let's jump into the details.  Why is this pizza a true rival to some of the Chicago greats?

First.  The flakey, buttery [yet not greasy!] crust.  No doubt in my mind the best homemade crust I have ever made.  Ever.  Now, the crusts I've made before [take a gander at the Ham and Veggie Pizza or Margherita Pizza] were awesome: thick, chewy, and slightly crisp.  But not one of them was like this recipe.

I equate this crust to a bread version of the best pie crust you've ever eaten.  You know those ones that seem to have layers?  The ones you can basically peel away while eating?  Yes.  That is this.  But bready.  And it isn't hard to achieve.  In fact, it'll probably happen by accident simply due to the way the crust will gently fall in on itself on the sides of the pan.  Hard to explain but just take my word for it.

And the beauty of the rest of this [pizza] pie is that YOU customize the filling.  Throw in any meats, veggies, or any odds and ends you can think of.  The possibilities are endless!  And if you end up not liking it, you really only have yourself to blame, right?  But listen up...

One tip: DO NOT skip the tomato mixture!

I kid you not.  This tomato concoction makes all of the difference and you do not want to miss out on it's tastiness.  Ba-lieve me.

But other than that, you're free to do as you please.  And because, according to a trusted source, Halloween is the night with the highest number of pizza deliveries of the year, I'm offering you an option to avoid the waiting game.  And you will not regret your decision.  So, HAPPY HALLOWEEN and off you go!  .

My Notes:
  • DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT be afraid of the fact that you're making a homemade crust.  This dough is absolutely the easiest dough I've ever worked with and extremely forgiving.  I was anything but gentle when rolling out this dough and you would have never known.
  • You can probably tell, but I ran out of daylight while making this pizza.  It gets so dark so early!  So take a look at the original recipe post because the pictures are absolutely beautiful and totally do this pizza justice.
Adapted from Handle the Heat

4 c. all purpose flour
3 tbsp. cornmeal
1-3/4 tsp. salt
2-3/4 tsp. (1 package) instant yeast
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 c. plus 2 tbsp. warm water

1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. dried Italian herbs
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 lb. of choice meat (e.g., chicken, sausage, pepperoni)

  1. For the crust, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, yeast, olive oil, butter, vegetable oil, and water.  Knead on medium-low speed until dough becomes smooth and soft (about 7 minutes; dough can also be kneaded by hand).  Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until puffy (about 1 hour).
  2. Lightly grease one 14-inch deep dish pizza pan or two 9-inch pie pans (I recommend using springform pans) and pour in 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil to cover the bottom and sides; set aside.
  3. Once the dough is risen, use your hands to stretch out into a circle slightly larger than the pan(s).  Lay the dough into the pan(s) and stretch towards the edges until the dough begins to pull back.  Cover and let rest 15 minutes.  Heat oven to 425F.
  4. Stretch the dough again so it reaches up the sides and let rest again for 10 to 15 minutes.  Bake crust 10 minutes or until set and barely beginning to brown.
  5. Meanwhile, for the filling, combine tomatoes, garlic, sugar, and Italian herbs in a medium bowl.  Lay 1/2 of the mozzarella across the crust.  Add 1/2 of the meat and top with 1/2 of the tomato mixture.  Repeat to create a second layer (however, if you're using two pans, use 1/4 of the ingredients for each layer.  So in total you will use half of the ingredients for one pizza and half for the second pizza).  Sprinkle the tops with Parmesan cheese to cover.
  6. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden brown.  Allow the pizza to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Yield: 1 (14-inch) or 2 (9-inch) pizza(s)

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  1. Yum, I am a thin crust person myself but this looks so good. Thank you, I will try this recipe out on my family.

  2. As Chicago natives now Jess, it was only a matter of time before you whipped up a recipe for this and I'm so glad you have. Always wanted to try me some Chicago Deep Dish pizza.

    Anne xx


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