This week’s March BreACK! festivities are turning into quite the space party! And no party would be complete without a pizza. Today, we’re putting together one of our favourite feast-pizzas, Chicago-Style Deep Dish, with a bit of a twist. We’ve made them into Pizza Planets with “stars” of sliced Mozzarella Cheese and a few extra pepperoni “craters.”
My Chicago-Style Deep Dish Crust recipe has become a staple in our monthly round of suppers. It’s a mix of two recipes I used to keep on hand – the first, a scratched out script from an old Emeril show a friend photocopied for me, and the second, a Cook’s Illustrated recipe. By the way, folks, if you’re in a pinch for time, you can skip the second “fancy” step of rolling out the risen dough, slathering it with butter, and rolling it up again to give it a second rise. The Sauce recipe is only and ever mine, something I started whipping up after university when I was trying to re-create the Chicago experience. By the way, we are totally cool with cracking open a can of sauce from time to time!
Remember, if you’re having a space party, don’t forget to cut a few cheese stars out and save them, along with a few slices of pepperoni, for the tops of your hot pies!!!
Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza
- 1 1/3 c warm water [95-105 degrees]
- 1 [1/4 oz] packet active dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 1/3 all-purpose flour + a bit to season the pans
- 1/2 c cornmeal or semolina [we use cornmeal] + a bit to season the pans
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 c vegetable oil [corn oil]
- 1/4 c unsalted butter melted and cooled [or more oil]
- olive oil to coat the bowl
For the deluxe, more elaborate crust, add
- 1/3 c unsalted butter room temperature
- enough for two pizzas and then some
- 1 tbs butter
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 small onion finely diced
- [optional] 2-6 anchovies in oil from a tin
- [optional] .5 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1-3 tsp grated garlic [chopped in oil is fine]
- 1/4 c red wine or water
- 1 28- oz can crushed tomatoes or 1 28-0z diced tomatoes drained and blitzed in food processor
- 1 tsp sugar
- [optional] 1-2 tbs chopped fresh basil
- salt and pepper
- spices to taste: dried basil oregano, parsley, fennel seed, etc.
- 1 lb mozzarella cheese grated. [At least 2-3 cups for each pizza]
- 1/2 c parmesean cheese for on top of the sauce
Toppings to taste...We made:
- a sauceless pizza with pepperoni and half green olive
- and a saucy pizza with hot salami prosciotto, sun-dried tomatoes in oil, blue cheese, capers, and green olives
- Pepperoni craters: Several slices of pepperoni or some salami
- Cheese Stars: Several thin slices of mozzarella cheese cut into stars with a cookie cutter
For the dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a mixing bowl, combine the 1 1/3 c warm water and the 1 teaspoon of sugar.
- With a small spoon, stir gently to combine.
- Sprinkle the package of yeast over top, stir gently for just a moment with the spoon, and allow to proof for about 5 minutes.
- Attach the dough hook to the mixer.
- Turn the mixer on low [or use a spatula and mix by hand].
- To the wet ingredients, add 1 1/3 cup of the flour, the 1/2 c corn meal, and the 1 teaspoon of salt and combine.
- Add the 1/4 c oil and the 1/4 c cooled melted butter until combined and smooth.
- Gradually add the remaining 2 c of flour until the dough comes together but is sticky.
- Remove from the bowl and knead gently to form a ball.
- Coat a large bowl with oil.
- Place the dough in the bowl and rotate to coat all sides.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, dark place until doubled in size. [about 1 hour]
- Prepare your sauce [or open up a can!], shred your cheese [or open up a sac], and ready your fillings.
- If you're in a rush, skip this next part...
For the super-deluxe, galactic-butter crust:
- After the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl and punch it down.
- Roll out flat into a large round or square, the size of a cookie sheet.
- Slather with the 1/3 cup of softened butter.
- Roll dough into a spiral as you would a cinnamon roll.
- Slice dough in halves or in the portions you would like to serve to your guests.
- Gently form each spiral into a ball.
- Replace in the oiled bowl and cover once again.
- Let rise on the counter for at least 45 minutes as you prepare you pizza ingredients.
- If you've skipped the elaborate crust instructions above, divide risen dough into two equal halves or into the portions you would like to serve your guests.
- In a sauce-pan, heat the 1 tablespoon each of oil and butter.
- Add the small, diced onion and cook until just beginning to brown.
- Add the [optional] 2-6 anchovies and stir until disintegrated.
- Add the 1-3 teaspoons garlic and the 1/2-teaspoon pepper flakes and cook for just a minute.
- [Do not let the garlic get brown.]
- Add a few splashes of wine or water to deglaze.
- Add the 28-oz can crushed tomatoes to the pan.
- Add the 1 teaspoon of sugar, stir, and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- If you find the sauce is not thick enough, add a bit of tomato paste and simmer for 5-10 more minutes.
- Add a few tablespoons of chopped fresh basil and stir just before adding to the pizza.
Pizza Prep and Baking
- Heat oven to 450.
- Brush pizza pans with olive oil or rub with butter.
- If desired, sprinkle the bottom of each pan with a bit of flour and cornmeal
- One pizza at a time:
- Roll dough into a twelve-inch circle [for 9x 2 or 3 in cake or spring-form pans].
- [For ten inch pans, roll to a 13-in circle. For smaller pans, roll to 12 inches and then use a pizza wheel to cut the dough such that you have the diameter of your pan +3 inches for the sides. Reserve the remaining dough for breadsticks or mini pizzas. I've used a large biscuit cutter to make a lovely hors d'oeuvre pizza or side.]
- Press the circlet into the pan.
- If you really need to, trim overhang from the tops of the pan. [We don't bother.]
- Brush the dough with olive oil.
- Repeat with other pizza crust[s]
- Place the grated cheese on the crust [about 2 cups each pie], reserving a bit for on top of your toppings.
- Place your toppings on top of the cheese.
- Add the small bit of reserved mozzarella to the toppings.
- Ladle about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of sauce on the top of the pizza toppings on eah pie.
- If desired, sprinkle about 1/4 cup parmesean cheese on the top of the sauce.
- Lower the temperature of the oven to 425.
- Bake the pizzas for about 15 minutes.
- While pizza is baking, cut mozzarella slices with a small, star-shaped cookie cutter.
- Cover pizzas with foil.
- Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until crust is brown and pizza is cooked through.
- If desired, about 3-5 minutes before you pull the pizza out of the oven for good, remove foil and top with pepperoni or salami "craters." [If crust is super-brown, replace foil].
- Remove pizza from the oven and, if desired, top with mozzarella stars.
- Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.