Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

Diving into a deep dish pizza is not an easy undertaking. These one-to-two-inch thick giants of the pizza world require a fork and knife to handle. It’s important to accept a few key facts when facing down a deep-dish pizza: 1) In most cases, you won’t be able to eat a whole one by yourself. 2) It’s best to include some veggies and meat to break up all the cheese. It does take a while to cook as this pizza pie is…a pie. Once you have the hang of it, you’ll appreciate the nuances of the flaky, buttery crust, hearty toppings, and historic significance of this Chicago mainstay.

Chicago Deep Dish Sausage Pizza

You can buy a deep dish pizza frozen but it won't come close to capturing the texture, fragrance and, most importantly, the taste of the fresh version. The flaky crust is not difficult to make and is what makes deep dish pizza so special.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Lunch, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: American, American Midwest, North American
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Resting dough: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12 slices
Author: My Hungry Traveler

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer with dough hook attachment
  • Large bowl with lid
  • Medium saucepan
  • Large nonstick skillet
  • 2 – 9-inch cast-iron skillets or 2 cake pans
  • Off-set spatula

Ingredients

Pizza Dough

  • cups All-purpose flour
  • ½ cup Yellow cornmeal
  • 1 packet Rapid rise yeast (.25 oz)
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • tsp Salt
  • cups Water, luke warm
  • 3 tbsp Unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 4 tbsp Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3⅓ tbsp Olive oil

Pizza Sauce (may be purchased)

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • ½ medium Red onion, peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black pepper
  • ¼ tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 28 oz Can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Fresh basil leaves or 2 tsp dried basil

Toppings

  • 1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 16 oz Part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • cup Grated parmesan or romano cheese

Instructions

Prepare Pizza Dough

  • Turn on the oven lights. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt on low speed until blended. Add warm water and melted butter. Mix until combined, 1-2 minutes. Scrape down sides and mix again until well blended. Increase speed to medium and knead dough until it's shiny and pulls away from the sides, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Coat the insides of a large mixing bowl with olive oil. Transfer dough ball to bowl and turn to coat all sides. Seal with a lid or plastic wrap. Set bowl in warmed oven to let dough double in size, about 1 hour.

Make Pizza Sauce

  • Make sauce while dough is rising. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 tbsp oil and butter with minced onion, red pepper, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook until onion is softened, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Pour in the can of crushed tomatoes and add sugar. Bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and cook about 30 minutes until sauce is reduced to about 2½ cups. Remove from heat and stir in basil and olive oil. Adjust salt, cover, and set aside.

Laminate Dough

  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured countertop. Roll dough into a 15 by 12-inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter over the rectangle with an offset spatula. Leave a ½-inch border along the edges.
    Roll the dough rectangle away from you into a tight cylinder. With the seam-side down, flatten the cylinder into an 18 by 4-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half crosswise.
    Working with 1 half at a time, fold the dough into thirds, like a business letter. Pinch seams together to form a ball. Do same thing with other half. Transfer both balls to a large oiled bowl and seal with plastic wrap or a lid. Place in refrigerator and let dough double in size, around 50 minutes.

Cook Sausage

  • Cook the Italian sausage in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Break the sausage into chunks and saute until cooked through. Drain well and set aside.
    Adjust oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 425°F (230°C).

Assemble Pies

  • Coat two cast-iron skillets or cake pans with 2 tbsp of oil each. Roll dough balls into 13-inch round disks. Roll flat dough loosely around a floured rolling pin and unroll over pans. Lightly press into pan, making sure to work it into the corners and 1-inch up the sides.
    Sprinkle each pizza with 2 cups of the shredded mozzarella. Divide sauce between pizzas and spread until evenly distributed over the cheese. Divide sausage between both pizzas and scatter over sauce. Top with parmesan cheese.

Cook Pizzas

  • Bake until crust is golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving with knives and forks.

Notes

  • Laminating is another term for folding layers of dough into itself to create a flaky pastry (think biscuits and croissants).
  • If crust is getting too dark during baking, tent pizza with foil and finish baking.
  • Sauce and sausage can be made days in advance.
  • Sausage can be replaced with whatever topping you want. A plain cheese pizza is mighty good all on its own.

Nutrition

Calories: 508kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 1220mg | Potassium: 405mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 591IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 362mg | Iron: 3mg

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