Now that I have my cast iron skillet, I was finally able to try this deep-dish pizza recipe that I've had for awhile! It's very different from the pizzas we typically eat, in that a Chicago pizza is drenched in sauce, whereas we usually either order light-on-sauce or no sauce at all. Our favorite pizza is a white pizza from a nearby Italian restaurant that just has garlic and a bunch of cheese. So this was something new and I really didn't think we would like it. Especially since I replaced the sausage with spinach and onions and extra mushrooms.
It was very easy to make and it looked really nice when it came out of the oven. It's a little messy to cut and eat. But it was really good! We both liked it. I don't think I'll make it again just because it isn't our style, but we did enjoy it. I would recommend it to anyone who likes to go to Uno's or who wants a traditional deep dish pizza.
If you decide to try it vegetarian, I used about 5 oz thawed frozen spinach and one chopped yellow onion and sauteed them with the mushrooms. Bell peppers would be yummy in it too.
Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza
Cooking Light, November 2005
Tomato sauce layered on top of mozzarella cheese and a biscuit-like crust distinguish this fork-and-knife pizza from other styles around the country. You can prepare the dough the night before and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight, if you prefer.
1 teaspoon sugar
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
3 cups all-purpose flour (about 13 1/2 ounces), divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound turkey Italian sausage (about 2 links)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
To prepare dough, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour and salt to the yeast mixture, stirring with a whisk until well combined. Stir in 1 3/4 cups flour, stirring until a dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky).
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let stand 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°.
To prepare topping, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage and onion; cook for 5 minutes or until sausage is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain; set sausage mixture aside.
Return pan to medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook 5 minutes or until moisture evaporates, stirring frequently. Remove mushrooms from pan, and set aside.
Return pan to medium heat; add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds or until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in oregano, fennel, and tomato sauce; simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce mixture is slightly thickened.
Coat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil, and sprinkle cornmeal over oil. Place dough in skillet, gently stretching edges to evenly coat bottom and sides of pan. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over the bottom of dough; top evenly with sausage mixture and mushrooms. Top mushrooms with sauce mixture; sprinkle Parmesan over sauce. Bake at 375° for 40 minutes or until crust browns and topping is bubbly. Let pizza stand 10 minutes before serving.
Yield: 8 servings