Saturday, April 11, 2009
I've never bought into the pizza argument. New Yorkers insist that pizza must be thin, with a chewy crust, moderate toppings and just a dab of sweet cooked tomato sauce under the cheese. Those who hail from Chicago insist on loading it up with a deep, rich crust, layers and layers of gooey cheese and sausage, topping it with a raw tomato sauce. In my mind, these are 2 different beasts entirely, and it's silly to disagree on which is the "real" pizza.
However, I must admit, this is my first attempt at deep dish. I've never been to the windy city, so this may be desperately unauthentic. Most of my pizzas have more closely resembled Neapolitan or New York style pizzas. And they're yummy! If you're not convinced, check out my summer veggie lover's with MD sweet corn, my Cobb salad creation, my Ratatouille Pizza and Buffalo Wing Steak Pizza, and an Amalfi coast seafood pizza. I'm actually shocked to see that my classic with pesto, fresh mozzarella and paper thin slices of tomato never made it onto these pages, but I guess that's due to its being camera shy as well as too incredibly delicious to wait for.
This pizza is everything the others are not. And yet, I wouldn't want it any other way. I slice = 1 huge meal, so be forewarned. Dig in to the deepest, ooey gooiest, crunchy and chewiest pizza ever!
Chicago - Style Deep Dish Pizza
1 package rapid-rise yeast
1 cup warm water
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/8 cup olive oil
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
Dissolve the yeast and water in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the oils and mix for 30 seconds. Add the cornmeal, 1 1/2 cups of the flour and salt and beat for 5 minutes. Switch to the dough hook and mix in the remaining 1 1/4 cups of flour and knead, using the dough hook for 2 minutes. Add the butter and knead until incorporated. The dough is a very moist dough so do not add more flour unless absolutely needed.
Place dough in an oiled bowl in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (about an hour).
1 1/2 large sweet onions, sliced (peppers would be good too, but I didn't have any)
1 1lb. italian sausage (I use hot turkey, but it's up to your preference)
2 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped fine
1 Tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
pinch of hot pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp dry sherry
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
2 14.5 oz cans of diced basil, garlic and oregano canned tomatoes, drained with most of their liquid squeezed out
1/4 cup shredded parmeggiano reggiano
Grease a 9 or 10 inch springform pan or a deep dish pizza pan. Preheat the oven to 425 F and arrange a rack on the lowest shelf in the oven.
Saute the onions in butter or olive oil until softened and slightly caramelized. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add a little bit more olive oil and then add the sausage, removing it from the casing and breaking it up as it cooks. Add the seasonings and garlic and cook until just browned. Add sherry to deglaze the pan and cook until it's no longer watery.
Punch down the dough, roll it out a bit and press it into the pan, about 1/3 inch thick, cutting off any excess (which makes great garlic knots FYI!). Fill the bottom of the crust with 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese, follow with onions, then sausage mixture, then the other half of the cheese and top with the drained tomatoes. Finish with a sprinkling of parmesan and bake until crust is golden and a skewer inserted comes out warm (about an hour).
Removing from a springform pan is easy and I highly suggest using one. Eat immediately to make the most of the gooey cheesiness.