Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

How do you like to eat your pizza? I go through pizza phases, like a pregnant woman goes through cravings. So I’ve heard, I wouldn’t know. At times I don’t want sauce. A pizza topped simply with sliced tomatoes and hunks of fresh mozzarella cheese. Baked until golden brown and crispy and sprinkled with ribbons of fresh basil right out of the oven. Then there are times when sauce and I are best friends again and I slather it on like no tomorrow. Oh hay sauce, come join the party. I’ll dump a heaping amount of cheese—it’s the only way to go—and call it a day. Sometimes I feel like being a classically boring guy where I put a thick layer of pepperoni on my pie. Those days I can’t be bothered, pepperoni is everything. Of course there are also the days when I lose all reason or logic and top my pizza with anything and everything I can find or get my hands on. Remind me to tell you about the time my pizza was loaded with so much that I couldn’t even pick it up. I could tell you now but it’s such a long story and I’m not even sure you want to read about it. But since you insist, it goes something like this (stop me if you’ve heard it before): One day I put so many different toppings on my pizza that after I baked it and sliced it and was ready to eat it, I couldn’t even pick it up. It crumbled under the weight of all the delicious toppings. The end. Oh well what do you know, it wasn’t that long of a story after all. I was forced to eat my pizza with a knife and fork. Yes, I became that guy. I give you permission to judge. You have all right to.

Let me be the one to say that some things are just never meant to be on, in, or around the vicinity of pizza, I’m referring to you hot dog pizza. Sorry but no. Just no. There are a million different topping combinations you can choose from which is why I think pizza is so delicious. You can literally eat pizza every day and have it be something completely different each time. With those possibilities it’s practically impossible to get bored of it. With that being said I volunteer to eat pizza every single day for the rest of my life, just to figure out how many topping possibilities there actually are. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it. I’m willing to “suffer.” And don’t even get me started on the different crust options. That’s a whole other topic, that I can get into right now, but I won’t because I’m sure you all just want Chicago-style deep dish pizza. I don’t blame you, it’s a good pizza.

This here is one of those moments when I lost all control and put everything but the kitchen sink up on this pie. Not only is the crust to topping ratio unbelievable with the crust winning the battle, but it’s also super easy to make. Sure it would be easier to order a pizza from a local spot and picking it up, but you don’t want to do that. You want to make your own pizza. You want to make it from scratch. That should have hypnotized you. Now back to our regularly scheduled program. Don’t even start complaining about how hard and time consuming homemade pizza dough is, because it isn’t. I’m bringing you a no-knead dough. It’s literally just throwing all the ingredients together and mixing. Then covering and resting. Easy. I couldn’t make this any easier for you unless I made it for you. As much as I’d like to make pizza dough for all of you, it’s just not going to happen. Let’s be real, I’d eat it all. And that’s the honest truth. Pizza for life.

We’re going to start by making the pizza dough. I wish I could say that I came up with this recipe with you guys in mind. That I wanted a no-knead dough so that you wouldn’t have to work too hard. Sadly that wouldn’t be entirely true. In reality, I’m bringing you a no-knead dough because my stand mixer—which is what I use for all my mixing needs—has to go to the doctor. It’s broken, not working. Kaput.

That’s the real reason for the no-knead dough. BUT my loss is your gain, so take advantage of this no fuss no muss recipe. It’s still just as good.

We start by pouring warm water into a bowl.

**Tip: You want the water to be warm so as to waken up the dry yeast. Water that is too cold won’t give the yeast a chance to wake up and do it’s magic. But at the same time, having water be too hot will kill the yeast, not allowing it to rise. The water should be bearable and warm to the touch.**

To the warm water add the sugar (because yeast needs food just like you and me and sugar is food to yeast) and of course the active dry yeast.

  

Lightly stir the mixture together and then place it in a warm place (like the oven turned off) for about 10 minutes to foam up and let the yeast do it’s thing.

Then in a separate bowl combine the all-purpose flour and semolina flour and salt together.

**Tip: If you don’t have semolina flour or can’t find it at the grocery store (then you should try harder and search far and wide for it, kidding) then you can just use all all-purpose flour instead.**

  

Whisk, toss or stir (it’s all the same thing really) the dry ingredients together until evenly combined. And if you’re anything like me, it should be all over the counter. That’s how you know you did it right.

  

So not only is this a no-knead dough but I’m also making it by hand, again because of the broken mixer. I think I deserve some sort of prize. I’m like Martha Stewart over here. Jonathan Melendez mixing by hand?! He must not be feeling well. And you’re right, I’m sick to my stomach from all this by-hand mixing.

To the dry ingredients, add the olive oil and the yeast mixture from earlier.

 

Of course if you’re not like me and your mixer still works, then you can just do this with the machine. It would be easier for you and I’d be totally jealous. I won’t even lie about that. I’ll hate you.

I’m going back in time and doing this with a wooden spoon. Either way, stir everything together and mix until the dough comes together and forms a slightly sticky ball.

**Tip: If the dough is really sticky and wet, you can add a bit more flour and mix until you reach the perfect not-so-sticky dough consistency.**

 

 

Once it comes together, or mostly together, then you can help things along with your paws. Just stick them into the bowl and work the dough. Squish it and pat it and mold it together to form a somewhat smooth ball.

 

Lightly oil a bowl, preferably a metal bowl. I find those to work perfectly well when proofing bread. So I’m just using my mixer bowl because I want to torture myself even more. Reminding me of the fact that my mixer doesn’t work.

Drop the pizza dough into the bowl with the oil and then flip it over to coat both sides.

 

Allow the dough to rest and rise and double in size (move over Dr. Seuss) in a warm place for about an hour. If you’re impatient and just want pizza right away then you can wait about 30 minutes, that’ll be okay. I won’t judge you.

While that’s resting we can work on some of the other components of the pizza. Like the sauce and cooking most of the toppings.

Let’s start by making the sauce. It’s just a simple, but still very delicious, tomato sauce. We need a few garlic cloves.

Smash a few cloves and peel away the skins. Then give them a rough chop with a knife. We’re looking for finely chopped garlic, that way no one bites into a large piece. But also because when it’s finely chopped and we sauté it, it’ll melt into the sauce nicely.

 

Set the garlic off to the side and run your knife through the basil as well. We’re using fresh basil, and the best way to slice it, is in ribbons.

**Stack the basil leaves on top of each other. Then roll them into a tight log and run your knife, cutting the basil into thin ribbons.**

I only have two hands so holding the camera and the basil log and the knife cutting it into ribbons, is sort of impossible. So instead you get a nice picture of a pile of basil leaves. Oooh aaahhhh. Cue applause.

Oil a sauce pot (olive oil is fine) placed over medium-high heat, and add the chopped garlic.

 

Stir the garlic around constantly so that it doesn’t burn. Cook for 1 minute or two until it becomes fragrant and lightly browned.

Then add a few other flavorings.

Crushed red pepper flake.

Dried oregano.

Chopped fresh basil.

  

Stir everything together and cook for another few minutes, again to develop their flavors.

After a few minutes, you can add a splash of dry red wine. This is optional, you definitely don’t have to add it if you don’t want to or if you don’t have any on hand, but it makes a world of difference.

While you’re at it you can add a bit of sugar as well. That will help bring all the flavors together.

 

Simmer for about 4 minutes until the wine has reduced and almost evaporated. The alcohol will cook out, leaving you nothing but delicious flavor.

Throw in a can of roma tomatoes.

Then using a wooden spoon, break-up the tomatoes and squish them. You don’t want large chunks of tomato in the sauce. But who knows, maybe you do. I don’t, so I’m breaking them up with the spoon. I’m okay with tiny chunks of tomato, not large.

  

Lower the flame, cover the sauce, and allow to cook (stirring every so often) for about fifteen minutes, until the sauce has thickened and reduced slightly.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a bit of oil to the pan. Allow it to heat and then add the hot italian sausage, removed from the casing.

 

Break-up the sausage into small pieces with a wooden spoon. You want to brown it while breaking it apart.

While the sausage cooks, you can slice the veggies.

Onions.

Red bell pepper.

Green bell pepper.

Mushrooms.

All classic pizza toppings, yes? I think so. I think so.

   

Once the sausage has completely browned and crisped, you can remove it from the skillet with a slotted spoon. Transfer it to a bowl and set aside. Of course if you’d like a few little pieces to nibble on, you know, for quality control purposes, that’s okay.

By now the sauce should be done, you can turn it off and remove it from the flame. Set it off to the side and allow to cool down.

Let’s turn our attention back to the veggies we sliced earlier.

To the same skillet where you cooked the sausage, you can add the veggies.

Add them one at a time and allow to cook for a few minutes before adding the next.

So add the onions, cook for about 4 minutes, until soft and translucent.

Then add the green bell peppers, and cook for another 4 minutes.

Then add the red bell peppers and cook for, yup you guessed it, another 4 minutes.

Lastly, you can add the mushrooms and cook until everything has browned and softened.

It should take about another 5 minutes to cook through the veggies.

You can then turn off the flame, move the veggies to the side and allow them to cool down before proceeding to the pizza making process aka the best part.

The dough will definitely be ready at this point so, you can punch it down in the bowl and then place it into a greased deep-dish pizza pan or a springform pan or a cast iron skillet. I used a cast iron skillet, because I think it makes amazing deep-dish pizza.

Place the dough in and then stretch it out with your hands to cover the bottom of the skillet.

 

Now all our components are ready. We can finally start to assemble this behemoth of a pizza. I’ve always wanted to use that word, behemoth, but it never fit in properly with the blog. I’ve had to delete it several times, in past posts, because it just didn’t fit. Finally it fits, hooray  for behemoth pizza.

We begin our pizza assembling journey by layer the crust with sliced mozzarella cheese and provolone cheese.

Just layer it on, it doesn’t have to be fancy or precise.

  

Then because no pizza is a pizza without pepperoni, we’re going to add a layer of large pepperoni.

 

And let’s now do a layer of the cooked veggies.

**Note: You don’t have to cook the veggies, if you don’t want to. Many people prefer putting the veggies raw onto the pizza and allowing them to cook in the oven while the pizza is baking. You can do that if you prefer.**

 

Throw in a few sliced black olives, might as well go all the way.

And wait, we’re not done yet. Not even close. Let’s not forget about the crumbled hot italian sausage.

Add a layer of that.

 

Okay so we’re done with those toppings. It’s a good thing because our pizza has come up to the very edge of the pan. I wasn’t kidding when I said deep-dish pizza.

Spoon over the sauce we made earlier.

  

Just because I like to take things over the edge and make things my own, I’m going to top this with even more cheese. Probably not so Chicago-style, but I think it’s necessary. Cheese is always an option. Sprinkle on shredded mozzarella and grated parmesan.

 

Okay, seriously, now we are done. All finished. I don’t think we can add anything more even if we tried. It’s ready to go into the oven but be careful because it’ll weigh a ton.

Bake in a preheated 475°F oven in the middle rack for about 25 to 30 minutes until the top is browned and and the sauce is bubbling on the side.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool down slightly before cutting and serving.

This second pie here in the front, I made with a springform pan, I wanted you guys to see that you can do it both ways, in the skillet and in the springform. Either way, the pizza comes out delicious. You can slice it up and serve it along side a cold beer (if you drink beer). Make this for the men in your lives because I feel like many men would love this. But I don’t discriminate, I’m sure many women would love this as well. More power to you, ladies. More power to you.

 

I think not too long ago I made a promise or more like a vow to post more “healthy” recipes on here. I tried it for about two seconds and now we find ourself here, staring at deep dish pizza. Salivating. Loaded with cheese, cheese, pepperoni, sausage and more cheese. BUT let’s not over look the fact that I did incorporate some fresh vegetables. That’s my healthiness for you guys. You should be proud of me for that bit.

Since this recipe makes two pizzas, you can definitely half everything on the ingredient list and just make one. Then you’d only have to make one no-knead pizza dough batch. Although I personally think you should go ahead and make both pizzas. You never know who will pop in or you might want more pizza after the first one is gone. When it comes to pizza consuming, this kind of planning is required.

 

I included pepperoni and hot italian sausage into this recipe so if you’re vegetarian, then you can easily omit those two ingredients and just using the other ingredients. OR you an top it with whatever you’d like. Just remember my tragic pizza story and don’t add too much to the dough. It would be a disaster waiting to happen. I’m speaking from experience. Whatever you decided to choose, one thing is for sure, you have to make this recipe soon. And you have to invite me over for a piece. That’s my only condition. Either way, enjoy!

No-Knead Pizza Dough

This pizza dough is super easy to make and perfect for any night of the week. It’s hassle-free and delicious, creating the best deep dish pizza crust. Now you can have that same pizzeria taste at home and the satisfaction of knowing it’s homemade! I doubled this recipe to make two pizzas. 

yield: 1 deep dish pizza dough 

Ingredients:
  • 1¼ cups (10 fluid oz) luke warm water
  • 1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 2¾ cups (335 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (65 grams) semolina flour
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) salt
Ingredients:

1. In a small bowl, combine the warm water, sugar and yeast. Stir lightly and place in a warm place to rest for about 15 minutes, or until frothy and foamy.

2. In a large bowl combine the all-purpose flour, semolina flour, salt, olive oil and the yeast water mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until  the dough comes together and forms a slightly sticky dough. If it appears too wet, add a bit more flour. If it appears too dry, add a bit more warm water and mix until the desired consistency is reach. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form a somewhat smooth ball with your hands. You don’t want to knead the dough, just bring it together. Place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat both sides.

3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a damp cloth. Place the bowl in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. Once doubled, you are ready to make pizza! Perfect with the Chicago deep dish pizza recipe above. Enjoy!

Comments

  1. avatar says

    Yummy! This looks great. What I love to do to get a great crust is to heat up a cast iron skillet on the stove for 20 minutes on high heat, drop the pizza in, let it cook for about a minute, and then put it in the oven on the highest heat setting possible. Works great.

  2. avatar says

    Pizza love forever!! I love your love of pizza…and I think I want to eat a whole one of these then immediately fall into a deep, pizza induced sleep…like Pizza Sleeping Beauty and the only thing that could awake me? More pizza. That’s probably weird, but I mean…this pizza is making me crazy!

  3. avatarDonald says

    I am more prone towards NY pizza over Chi-town pizza, but you always make everything look so good, I want to try this out!

    I’ll have to ad-lib on a couple of things though… mostly because of toppings, but that goes without saying. I’ve never used a cast iron skillet in the oven before but I’m game to try.
    Going to try this over the weekend! :D

    • avatarDonald says

      Sorry, I forgot to update. I made the pizza over the weekend. Felt nervous about using a cast iron skillet in the oven but that was baseless.
      I’m more used to making NY style pizza, so this was a welcomed challenge. I went with chicken opposed to the sausage and pepperoni. Love the stuff, but it doesn’t love me. heh Anyway, Some hits and misses, based on my part but thoroughly a delicious recipe!

  4. avatarKandice says

    This looks absolutely delicious . I am already plotting out when I will cook it and who I will invite to dinner .

  5. avatarjenn says

    I made this amazing pizza for hubby, it was so delicious we almost ate the whole thing between the two of us!! The crust was perfect, although I did use my gorgeous stand mixer (hate me, I can take it). I used what I had on hand; giant green onions from the garden, mini bells, linguica, pepperoni, giant caper berries, klamata olives, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, smoked provolone, pink pesto sauce (jar). We made one pizza. I can’t wait to make the other dough. I should call someone over, it’s that good!!

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