Now don’t roll Ur eyes… Ur mom grew up in Chicago, and yes, this is an involved recipe, but the kind of reach-for-the-stars success you will have with this pizza is well worth Ur initial trepidation. Really!
Just don’t start it on a weeknight. When you have a lot of homework. And no one to help you eat it…or help you clean up the kitchen…
Other than that – allow about 4 hours the first time you make this, mostly because the dough rises twice. Follow along. Ur mom guarantees there will be a next time, and a time after that, and a time after that….
For one 9-inch pie, gather up:
1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (8 1/8 oz. for you luckies with scales)
¼ cup stone ground yellow cornmeal
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast (notice this is exactly half of a little ¼ oz. packet)
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons water, or 5 oz., at room temperature
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Sauce Ingredients: (Yes, it is fairly critical that you make it…)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons grated onion
Pinch dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced and mashed
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes with basil
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped, if available
1 ½ teaspoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
For making the Pie:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 link Italian hot sausage, about 1/3 pound
1 small sweet onion
1 large green pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 oz. shredded pizza cheese blend, or mozzarella
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Starting with the dough:
Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Using the dough hook, add the water and the melted butter.
Mix on low speed until fully incorporated, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally until all the dry ingredients have been picked up.
Increase speed to medium low and knead until the dough is glossy and smooth, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, 4-5 minutes.
Coat a medium bowl with the teaspoon of olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and turn to coat evenly with the oil.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a cozy draft-free room temperature spot.
I leave mine under the cabinets next to a corner by the cooktop. Cozy, not heated.
Let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled, about 60 minutes, give or take.
(And I forgot to take a picture, but it doubled and looked beautiful…)
Once doubled, turn the dough out onto a clean dry lightly floured surface.
I use a floured sleeve on my rolling pin, because ur mom is old fashioned that way, but you can just lightly flour a rolling pin.
Roll the dough into a 8 x 6 inch rectangle. Ruler optional.
Spread the 2 tablespoons unsalted butter over the dough, leaving a ½ inch border at the edge.
Starting at the short end, roll the dough into a tight cylinder.
Seam side down; flatten into a 9 x 2 inch rectangle.
Fold in thirds like a business letter.
Pinch the seams to form a ball.
Return to the oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and this time put it in the refrigerator to rise until nearly doubled, again about 60 minutes, give or take. Check it a few times…Wow, the dough part is well in hand, congratulations. Let’s turn our attention to…
Making the Sauce:
First, grate your onion. Grating the onion will make it incorporate smoothly into your pizza sauce. We want the pizza sauce to be smooth as silk, and this will do the trick!
Grab your garlic, and keep chopping it until it’s minced.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, oregano and salt.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid from the onion has evaporated and the whole mixture is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until the garlic releases its fragrance, no more than about 30 seconds.
Stir in the tomatoes and the sugar, and increase the heat to medium-high.
Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally, then move the heat to low. Continue to simmer until the sauce reduces to a thick, smooth puree. All the liquid from the tomatoes should cook off. This will take about 30 minutes. (PS: Good reducing will result in sauce spattering everywhere!)
Move the sauce off the heat, grab a tasting spoon and taste. DO NOT skip this step – trust us! Now, stir in fresh basil (if you have it), 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Stir through, grab a fresh tasting spoon, and taste again. You should experience pizza sauce nirvana. If not, consider adjusting the final seasonings.
Set the sauce aside.
Prepare the Sausage Filling:
Roughly chop the onion and the green pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick skillet, and saute the sausage, onion and green pepper until sausage is cooked through and vegetables are tender.
Set aside the sausage filling.
Making the Pie:
Pull the dough from the refrigerator when it is ready, (dough should be nearly doubled in size) and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put the dough back on the lightly floured surface.
Roll it into a roughly 11 inch disk.
Coat a 9 inch cake pan with the 2 tablespoons, or more, of olive oil. This will help to “sizzle” your crust in the pan, essential to pan pizza!
Transfer the dough to the pan. Lightly press the dough into the pan, and approximately 1 inch up the sides of the pan.
Spread the cheese over the dough – it looks like a lot, but again, essential to pan pizza coming together!
Spread the filling over the cheese.
Spread all of the sauce over the filling, and top with parmesan. This may seem like a lot of sauce, but this is what makes it Chicago pizza. Ladle it on!
Bake until the crust is golden and filling bubbly, 20 – 30 minutes.
Remove from oven. Let sit in pan 10 – 15 minutes. Using a small spatula, ease the pie out onto a cutting surface. Admire the crust. Smell the deep dish goodness… Now this is hard, but let it rest another 15 minutes or so, otherwise the cheese and sauce will gush all over the place when you cut into it. Not such a bad thing, just kinda messy. This pie will set up beautifully if you wait a few more minutes… (which I only do sometimes…)
Using a long serrated knife, cut into wedges. Let eyes roll back into head…sigh…ur dining companions think you are a miracle worker…and u are.
Adapted from Annie’s Eats, who adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, Jan-Feb 2010.