Deep Dish Pizza

Deep Dish Pizza

Adapted from a recipe that originally appeared in Sphere, April 1976
Makes 2 pizzas 13″ diameter x 2″ deep

Preparing this pizza can be an all-day affair, but the results are definitely worth it.

Ingredients
Thick-Crust Pizza Dough (recipe follows)
Tomato Sauce (recipe follows and is also here)
2 lbs. mild or hot Italian sausage, casing removed
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tsp. oregano
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare Thick-Crust Pizza Dough.

While dough is rising first time, make Tomato Sauce.

Complete Thick-Crust Pizza Dough.

While dough is rising second time, heat oven to 400° F. Brown sausage in skillet over medium heat until brown; drain. Prepare other toppings: mushrooms, pepper, mozzarella (and/or any other preferred toppings–one of my favorite combos is mushrooms, green pepper, pineapple & avocado).

After dough is in pans: Place sliced mozzarella cheese over dough in each pan. Top each with half the sauce, then half the sausage. Sprinkle half the oregano, mushrooms, peppers, shredded mozzarella, and grated Parmesan cheese over each pizza.

Bake until crust is brown and cheese is melted, about 25 minutes.

Cut in wedges to serve.

Thick-Crust Pizza Dough

2-1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
5-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. yellow corn meal
3 tbsp. sugar
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs, beaten
2-3 c. flour
Olive oil and corn meal

Directions
Place milk and butter in medium saucepan. Heat to scalding, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool to 115 degrees. [Note: the cooling can take quite awhile, so allow extra time for this step.]

Mix 5-1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup corn meal, sugar, yeast and salt in large bowl. Stir in cooled milk; add eggs. Add enough of remaining four to make dough easy to handle.

Turn dough onto lightly floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up and cover. Let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours. Punch down dough.* Let rise, covered, until double, about 1 hour.

Grease bottoms of 2 round pans, 13 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep, with olive oil. Sprinkle with corn meal. Divide dough in half. Roll dough on lightly floured bowl into a 16-inch circle. Transfer dough to pans.

* Dough can be prepared up to this point, wrapped securely in plastic wrap and frozen for later use. Thaw; let dough rise second time until double and proceed with remaining steps.

Tomato Sauce

Makes 4-8 cups depending on type of tomatoes and how long you simmer it.

2 cans (28 oz. each) tomato puree, or crushed tomatoes, or whole tomatoes (Italian plum if you can find them) or a combination [see NOTE below]
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce (or 3 Tbls. tomato paste combined with 1/2 cup water)
3 Tbls. olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup snipped parsley (or 2 Tbls. dried parsley flakes)
2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

In 3-quart saucepan, saute onion in olive oil over medium high heat. Once the onions begin to soften and get transparent, lower heat to medium and add the parsley, herbs, and garlic. Saute for about 1 minute. Be careful not to let the herbs or garlic burn. Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce or paste/water. Add sugar, salt & pepper and nutmeg. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered or partially covered for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Test for seasoning about 30 minutes before using and adjust as necessary.

NOTES:
(1) My decision about which type of tomatoes to use depends in part on what happens to be in my pantry, but also on how thick I want my sauce to be for a particular dish. For deep dish pizza, I prefer to start with the whole tomatoes and slow-cook this sauce all day. For stuffed shells I use crushed tomatoes and then puree the final sauce with an immersion blender so that it is chunky, but not too chunky. If I want a nice smooth sauce, I just start with puree. Experiment and see what works for you.

(2) Many moons ago, when I first started making this sauce (from a recipe for Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza), an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce was 8 fluid ounces and made only of tomatoes and water. Today, these little cans are sold by weight (resulting in somewhat less than 8 fluid ounces) and often contain many other ingredients you may or may not want in your own tomato sauce. These days I usually substitute diluted tomato paste to avoid all those other ingredients. Read the cans yourself and decide.

Copyright © 2009, Lucinda DeWitt


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