Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

A college friend of mine from the Chicago area was recently in town for a visit, and in between climbing to the top of Telegraph Hill, riding the cable car, touring the Cal campus, and watching 21 Jump Street, we managed to find the time to make this insanely good Chicago-style deep dish pizza.  One word of warning: if you want to eat before 10 pm, you should probably start this earlier in the day than we did!  This pizza recipe takes about 3 hours from start to finish, and that's if you're being efficient with your time.  However, the wait is totally worth it.  This pizza has a tender, flaky crust (which possibly has something to do with all the butter in it!), which is topped with tons of mozzarella cheese, a super flavorful homemade tomato sauce, and any toppings you can dream up.  The cheese goes on the crust first to protect it from getting soggy, which works perfectly since deep dish pizza has a much longer cooking time (and more toppings/sauce) than the thin-crusted pizzas I usually make.  We filled one pie with fresh basil and awesome marinated tomatoes from the olive bar at my grocery store, and the other with black olives and chopped bell pepper - both awesome combinations. 

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza (adapted from America's Test Kitchen)
Makes 2 pizzas (serves 4-6)

For the dough:
3-1/4 cups  all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1-1/2 tsp table salt
2 tsp sugar
2-1/4 tsp instant yeast
1-1/4 cups room-temperature water
3 T unsalted butter, melted
4 T unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp plus 4 T olive oil

For the sauce:
2 T unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
2 large garlic cloves, minced
14-15 ounce can tomato puree
14-15 ounce can diced tomatoes (in juice)
1/4 tsp sugar
2 T coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 T olive oil
Pepper, to taste

To finish:
1 pound mozzarella, grated
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese   
Toppings of your choice - we made one pizza with olives and bell pepper, and one with marinated tomatoes and fresh basil

1. Make the dough.  Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a dough hook.  Add the water and melted butter and mix on low speed until the dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from the sizes of the bowl, about 5 minutes. 
2. Oil a medium bowl.  Shape the dough into a ball, roll around in the oil a bit, and then place in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled, 45-60 minutes. 
3. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, oregano, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds.  Stir in the tomato puree, diced tomatoes, and sugar.  Bring to a boil and the reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer until reduced to about 2-1/2 cups, 25-30 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in basil and oil.  Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. 
4. Laminate the dough.  Turn the dough out onto a dry work surface and roll into a 15x12-inch rectangle.  Using a rubber spatula or offset spatula, spread the softened butter over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges.  Starting at the short end, roll into a tight cylinder.  With the seam-side down, flatten the cylinder into an 18x4-inch rectangle.  Cut the rectangle in half crosswise.  Working with one half at a time, fold into thirds like a business letter, pinch the seams together, and form into a ball.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Oil another bowl, and then place each half of the dough in a separate oiled bowl.  Place in the refrigerator, and let rise until nearly doubled in bulk, 40-50 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
6. Shape the dough.  Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 T olive oil each.  Transfer one ball of dough to a dry work surface and roll into a 13-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick.  Transfer to pan and lightly press into bottom and and one inch up the sides.  If the dough is difficult to work with, let rest for 5 minutes so the gluten can relax.  Repeat with the other dough ball.
7. Assemble the pizzas. For each pizza, sprinkle half the mozzarella evenly over the dough.  Sprinkle your toppings over the cheese.  Spread half the tomato sauce over the cheese and toppings.  Sprinkle with half of the Parmesan.  Repeat with remaining ingredients. Bake until the crust is golden brown, 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven, pop pizza out of the pans, and let rest about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


  1. A post after my own heart! I'm in Chicago, and I want to make this!

  2. Love Pizza.This one looks tasty.

  3. Yep - I've made that recipe a few times and it is totally worth it - love the buttery layers!

  4. Yum! I'm originally from Chicago - makes me miss it (but only a little!)

  5. Mmm - I love that the cheese goes on first! So interesting, and makes total sense!

  6. This looks so good! It sort of reminds me of the pizza we used to make when I was at Cal! Go bears! :-) A friend of mine lived at the veggie coop and we used to make pizza often. I may try to make this tonight!

  7. One of the best things about visiting Chicago is its pizza. I haven't been there in a few years and now I'm craving pizza. I need to get baking!