Feeling ready for a challenge? Take on a Chicago style deep dish pizza–I won’t lie–it’s a lot of work but the end result is totally satisfying.
I have never been to Chicago. And I don’t know anything about the tradition that is deep dish pizza that they have up there. That said, if I did anything wrong, you can blame it on America’s Test Kitchens because I followed their recipe and this baby was hard for me. If you want to see their step by step video, you can watch it here.
Maybe I was tired the day I made this, I can’t remember. But I did make the sauce and the crust from scratch on the same day and that was tough. If you make it, do your sauce one day and the crust the day you plan to make your pizza. It will go a lot easier for you. Unless you feel like the energizer bunny.
And unfortunately, there’s not a good way around making your sauce from scratch. A store bought one will be too thin and you would need to simmer it to thicken it. Which, you would have to do anyway if you make the one from scratch so I guess it’s up to you. Looks like I just talked myself out of that one!
Either way, this pizza is probably not what you’re used to (unless you’re from Chicago). The crust is on the top and the cheese is in the middle of a thick bread-like flaky crust. But I promise you it’s good, and it’s worth all of the effort.
I can also promise you it’s not calorie free. Make that a double promise. Just don’t look.
This recipe makes two 9″ cake pan size pizzas. You can make one and freeze it before baking for another night if that works–and you may want to because you’ll be so tired from making this that you won’t want to cook the next night.
My biggest suggestion here is read the whole recipe before you start just to make sure you understand the order and have all of the ingredients. Then say a prayer.
Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza
For the crust
To make the sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup onion finely grated on a box grater
- 2 cloves fresh garlic minced or finely chopped
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
To finish the pizza
- 4 tablespoons room temperature butter
- 2 cups whole milk mozzarella cheese avoid the pre-shredded stuff
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups thickened marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
To make the dough:
- In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or a big bowl, add all ingredients including the cornmeal and mix 1-2 minutes on medium if you are using a stand mixer, maybe 5 minutes or so if you are doing it by hand. The dough will be a little shaggy here.
- Mix on high 5 minutes or keep stirring another 6-7 minutes until the dough is slightly smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It will be very sticky.
- Transfer to a clean oiled bowl and allow to rise, covered for one hour. Make the sauce while the dough rises if you haven't made it ahead.
To make the marinara
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onions. Cook on medium heat until the onions soften and turn slightly brown. About 8 minutes or so. Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds.
- Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper and simmer until thickened and down to about 2 1/2 cups. This takes about 30 minutes.
- Stir in the basil and olive oil at the end. Set aside.
To assemble the pizza
- Roll the dough to a 15x12 inch rectangle. Notice there's no flour on my board. It's sticky, but the oil in it makes it work out okay and adding too much flour makes the dough tough.
- Take 1/2 stick of room temperature butter and spread it all over the dough.
- Starting at the short end, roll up like a jelly roll, then flatten the roll into an 18×4 inch log. I know this is nuts. Stay with me.
- Cut the log in half and fold the ends in to the center of each half. Place back in the oiled bowl and allow to rise in the fridge about 50 minutes and after it's been in the fridge for 30 minutes, go ahead and preheat your oven to 425.
- After the 50 minutes, roll the dough out to a 13 inch circle.
- Coat your cake pans in 2 tablespoons of olive oil each and transfer. Poke holes in the dough with a fork to release any air bubbles.
- Sprinkle 2 cups of mozzarella cheese evenly between the two pans, one cup on each pizza dough.
- Layer each with half the sauce OVER the cheese. Sprinkle with 1/4 shredded parmesan per pizza.
- Bake on the lowest rack for 20-30 minutes. Let sit about 15 minutes before removing from pans or slicing.