A Chicago-style stuffed crust pizza

I have been meaning to try to make a Chicago deep-dish pizza for a while now, and so on the weekend I started to do some research about how to go about this exciting task. I had no idea that there are two main styles of deep-dish pizza — there’s the Uno regular deep-dish, and the Giordano stuffed crust. Well, I was smitten with the images and info out there about Giordano’s, so I decided to try that one this time.

One begins with the dough, which apparently is more biscuity than regular pizza dough. The recipe I found called for 6 tbsp. water and 1 tsp of yeast to proof. Added to that was 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp salt, 5 tbsp canola oil, and 1 tbsp olive oil. The oils are worked in at the end. I double the recipe for the double crust, which worked out great.

The next step was to create a sauce. I sauteed an onion in olive oil and added 5 cloves of garlic, some bay leaves, fresh oregano, dried chili pepper, and two cans of whole tomatoes, drained. While that cooled a bit after having cooked for about 10 or 15 minutes, I pre-heated the oven to 500. I decided to use a 10″ cast-iron skillet to cook the pizza in. I smeared a little butter over the bottom and sides, and then also added a little olive oil.

I rolled out half my dough and pressed it into the bottom and up the sides of the skillet. I then added a lot of sliced mozza, leaving room around the edge. I rolled out my second ball of dough and draped it over the mozza, and pressed it into the edges to seal. I read that it’s recommended to cut a couple of steam holes in the top of the second layer, and I did do that, which I think is probably necessary to avoid steaming hot mozzarella incidents. The chunky tomato sauce was layered on top, and I added a bit of grated Parmesan cheese to finish.

I reduced the heat in the oven to 450 and let it cook for about 35 minutes.

I have to say this was quite possibly the best pizza I have ever made. It was so good that I’m not sure additional toppings like Italian sausage or mushrooms could improve it. It’s true I’ve never had authentic Chicago deep dish before, but if it tastes anything like the one I just made, it must be damn fine pizza. When I make this one again (and I will be making it again), I think a cheese mix might be just the thing — some provolone and edam and mozza squished in there together can’t make it worse! And a few capers and olives in the sauce might be a nice variation.

Just look at that oozing cheese!

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