A few weeks ago, I had a four-day weekend and it was glorious. Whenever that happens, I like to plan some meals that are a little more labor intensive. There is something special about cranking up the music and spending the afternoon in the kitchen. On Friday, I tried my hand at making homemade ravioli for a belated Valentine’s dinner. I made a mushroom-cheese ravioli with a spinach cream sauce. The results were killer. On Monday, I wanted to try making deep dish pizza. I haven’t had much deep dish pizza in my life so I thought that needed to be changed! This may look and seem like an intimidating process to some, but in all honesty, all you really need on your hands is time.
Since I was making deep dish, I also decided that it needed to be Chicago-style, cheese on first and sauce on the top. This meal was definitely a splurge for us, but let me tell you all those calories were worth it. The crust was buttery, flaky, and sturdy, it reminded me of a really good pie crust, but in pizza form (if that makes any sense). When the cheese and sauce get piled on, it is a little piece of heaven. Another great thing about it was that it reheated great. One slice and a big salad was enough for us, but we enjoyed it as some leftovers. It took a lot of restraint not to get a second piece both of those nights. This is not something that will find its’ place on our weekly menu plan often, but when it does we will definitely savor it.
Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza
- 1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp (8 1/8 oz) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (1 3/8 oz) yellow cornmeal
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 1/8 tsp. instant yeast
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (5 oz) water, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
- Pinch of dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- Pinch of sugar
- 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, shredded (about 2 cups)
Make the dough, start by combining the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook on low speed. Mix until blended, about 1 minute. Add the water and melted butter and continue mixing on low speed until incorporated,scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Turn up the speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is glossy and smooth, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 4-5 minutes.
Using your hands, thoroughly coat a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl, turning once to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled, about 45-60 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, and oregano and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and sugar and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer until reduced, about 25 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the chopped basil and oil. Season with salt and pepper to meet your taste. Set aside.
To laminate the dough, turn the dough out onto a dry work surface and roll into a 8- by 6-inch rectangle. Using an offset spatula or a knife, spread the softened butter over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Starting at the short end, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. With the seam side down, flatten the cylinder into a 9- by 2 inch rectangle. Fold into thirds like a letter, pinch the seams to form a ball, and return to the oiled bowl. Cover tightly with the plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator until nearly doubled in size, 40-50 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 F. To assemble, coat a 9-inch round cake pan with the olive oil. Transfer the dough ball to a dry work surface and roll out into a 13-inch disk about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer the dough to the pan. Lightly press the dough into the pan, making sure to work into the corners and press about 1 inch up the sides. If the dough resists stretching, let rest 5 minutes before trying again.
Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella over the surface of the dough. Spread the prepared tomato sauce over the cheese and top with Parmesan. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Sprinkle with chopped basil.