Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

I made these pizzas yesterday for Christmas using a recipe from the latest issue of Cook's Illustrated. They turned out really well! You don't need a pizza stone; these are baked instead in 2 nine-inch cake pans. Guy wanted sausage on his, so he made the one on the right (with the meat added) while the one at the left stayed true to the original recipe which is just cheese and sauce (with garlic, oregano, basil, and some grated onion).

It was time-consuming to prepare, because the dough has to rise twice (once at room temperature and once in the refrigerator). But the results were well worth it. Here is the Cook's Illustrated recipe; I revised it very slightly, taking out the parts that didn't seem to apply when I made the pizzas (they included all these notes about the dough being sticky, for example, but my dough was rather dry):

Makes two 9-inch pizzas, serving 4 to 6. The test kitchen prefers Dragone Whole Milk Mozzarella; part-skim mozzarella can also be used, but avoid preshredded cheese, as it does not melt well. Our preferred brands of crushed tomatoes are Tuttorosso and Muir Glen. Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater.

Ingredients for Dough
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/4 cups water room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted, plus 4 tablespoons, softened
1 teaspoon plus 4 tablespoons olive oil

Ingredients for Sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated onion , from 1 medium onion
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 medium garlic cloves , minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Pepper and salt

1 pound mozzarella cheese , shredded (about 4 cups)
1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)
Pre-cooked mild Italian sausage (optional)

1. FOR THE DOUGH: Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add water and melted butter and mix on low speed until fully combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl occasionally. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, 4 to 5 minutes.

2. Using fingers, coat large bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Transfer dough to bowl, turning once to oil top; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in volume, 45 to 60 minutes.

3. FOR THE SAUCE: While dough rises, heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, increase heat to high, and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil, then season with salt and pepper.

4. TO LAMINATE THE DOUGH: Adjust oven rack to lower position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Using rubber spatula, turn dough out onto dry work surface and roll into 15- by 12-inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over surface of dough, leaving 1/2-inch border along edges. Starting at short end, roll dough into tight cylinder. With seam side down, flatten cylinder into 18- by 4-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half crosswise. Working with 1 half, fold into thirds like business letter; pinch seams together to form ball. Repeat with remaining half. Return balls to oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in refrigerator until nearly doubled in volume, 40 to 50 minutes.

5. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each. Transfer 1 dough ball to dry work surface and roll out into 13-inch disk about 1/4 inch thick. Lightly press dough into pan, working into corners and 1 inch up sides. If dough resists stretching, let it relax 5 minutes before trying again. Repeat with remaining dough ball.

6. For each pizza, sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella evenly over surface of dough. Spread 1 1/4 cups tomato sauce over cheese. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Parmesan (and sausage, if using). Bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


  1. Oh, I gotta stop looking at your food posts, Beebo! Pizza a la Cook's Illustrated, too. Moan. I used to buy their magazine. I follow "America's Test Kitchen" and "Cook's Country" series on PBS stations when I can. Do you watch those shows? Chris Kimball is fun to watch - he's sooo sarcastic and food-smart.

    I won't even mention Ming Tsai from "Simply Ming."

    Kidding, of course. (Well, NOT about Ming Tsai, who's adorable or about Chris Kimball being fun.) I love your food posts. If you are going to eat, it might as well be good, enjoyable food. Your food posts remind me that food can be good. Thanks.

  2. I read the magazines, but I haven't watched Chris Kimball's show, I really gotta watch that sometime!