Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza


Chewy crust. Cheesy, saucy goodness. Sausage. Pesto. It’s oh, so good. If you want to jump to the eating portion of this Chicago-style deep dish pizza shindig, (just click here.)


I was going to publish this last week…but then Saturday’s phone call came. And I was making plane reservations, and hotel reservations, and car rentals, and it just felt like there was so much more to say…beyond “I need to make time.”

And yet, after last weekend and realizing how short life is, I do. I need to make time to be with the ones I love. To relish in them…

This is from the first week of May…


Mexican and Sausage Style Deep Dish Pizza

I realized a few things over the weekend. Or accepted a few things. Or maybe just began to consider a few things.

I can’t really be sure. It’s Wednesday. Hump day. And I’m already 30+ hours into the workweek, so a gal can never be all too sure about what she’s realized, accepted or considered.

Unless, of course, she writes things down. Because really, wouldn’t we bet lost without notes? And calendars! Oh my goodness, lost is an understatement. If I didn’t have my calendar, which consequently lives somewhere in the cloud, I wouldn’t get anything done. So thank goodness for the cloud. And my calendar. And the fact that at some ungodly hour Sunday night when I couldn’t sleep I stood in the kitchen and added an event to write this here post.

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza in two different ways!

It’s officially May 3. I probably won’t be posting this until next week. Because I have to make some pizza first. The pizza you’re going to see here. And I have to photograph the pizza. And that takes time people. TIME!

Which, is one of the things I realized/accepted/considered this weekend. That I have to figure out a way to give myself more time to do the things I really love.

Like blog.

And hike with Zeus. And talk with my husband. Seriously. Last night I walked in the door at 7:20 PM talking in somewhat incoherent sentences. After a much needed hug and small drink, we spent a few minutes coating popsicles in chocolate and coconut flakes, watched a few innings of the Mariners game, and laughed as Zeus demolished his doggie ice cream.

(On the by-and-by, the popsicles were epic. We will be making them again. And don’t you worry. I’ll be sharing the how-to with you.)

So the other thing I realized is that I’ve been feeling really guilty about not being here. In this space. Writing what I want to write, how I want to write it.

(And goodness. Even as I write that I feel like a broken record! How many times have I said that I want to be here more? Too many. And isn’t that the definition of insanity. Doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different outcome…)

I’ve also noticed my other writing seems to be harder to create. As though I’m less inspired. Which makes sense because I haven’t been reading, which should be a crime. But my Dad and I started a book club about a month ago. We’re reading Titan. Which is to say, he’s read Titan and I’m half way through it. So that’s good.

And I’m taking Zeus on a #ZeusWalks in a little bit, which he will love and so will my FitBit. (I sometimes post pictures of our walks on Instagram. You can find them under the #ZeusWalks.)

Thick crust deep dish pizza

And tomorrow – in addition to three deadlines and two meetings…this adulting thing is rough! – I have a mommy date scheduled. And an Alice dinner scheduled. And Friday is dinner with Leila and Brandon – for PIZZA! Deep dish pizza to be exact. This deep dish pizza you see right here.

We’ve been making it a lot lately. Which isn’t so great for fitting into my pants, but is fabulous for perfecting my crust. Seriously. It’s totally bomb. Like fat man in a little coat status BOMB.

And by the way, we’re going to start making pasta again too. Or attempting. Jenny’s the pasta goddess. She showed me the ropes a few weekends ago. And I’ve played a little since then. So it’s going to happen. Me and the machine and the eggs and the flour. It’s going down in a saucy kind of way.

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

As found in Cooks Illustrated (with a few notes, adjustment, and topping additions)

 

Dough

3¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
2¼ tsp rapid-rise yeast (one packet)
2 tsp sugar
1½ tsp salt
1¼ cup water, room temperature (or slightly warmer)
3 TBS unsalted butter, melted
4 TBS unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp olive oil

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk flour, cornmeal, yeast, sugar, and salt until combined.

Attach a dough hook to the stand mixer. Add water and melted butter. Mix on a low speed until fully combined. Increase speed to medium, kneading until dough until it is glossy, smooth, and pulls away from the side of the bowl.

NOTE: Small flecks of the cornmeal will still be visible. Don’t worry. That’s normal.

Coat a large bowl with olive oil. Transfer dough to bowl, turning it once to cover dough in oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until double in size (roughly 1 hour).

 

Traditional Sauce

2 TBS butter
1 finely minced onion
salt and pepper
¼ tsp dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
¼ tsp sugar
2 TBS fresh basil

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until translucent. Add oregano and garlic. Sauté until fragrant.

Add crushed tomatoes and sugar. Simmer on low until thick, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil.

 

Toppings

1-pound mozzarella, shredded (4 cups)
¼ cup grated Parmesan
1-pound sausage, cooked
¼ cup pesto sauce

 

Assembly

After the first rise, turn dough onto a dry, clean counter. Roll into a 15-inch by 12-inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over the surface, leaving roughly a ½-inch border around the edges.

Roll dough into a tight cylinder. Cut cylinder into two smaller cylinders. Working with half the dough at a time, pinch the outer edges of the smaller cylinder to seal. Fold dough into thirds like a business letter. Return the ball of dough to bowl, placing the largest seam facing down. Repeat with remaining cylinder.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Allow to rise at room temperature until nearly double in size, 40 – 50 minutes.

During the dough’s second rise, adjust oven rack to middle position. Place a pizza stone on rack. Preheat over to 425 degrees.

Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 TBS olive oil each.

NOTE: I use one 9-inch round cake pan and 1 9-inch round deep-dish cast iron. If I had two cast iron pans, I’d use the second one as well, as the crust tastes substantially better in a cast iron.

Transfer one ball of dough to each pan. Using our fingers and the palm of your hand, press dough across the bottom of each pan, into the corners and up the edges.

NOTE: If dough starts to resist, let it rest. I like to move between the two pans, working on one dough and then the other. This seems to allow the dough to rest enough without a significant amount of downtime.

Once dough is in place, sprinkle 1½ cups mozzarella on bottom of each surface. Top each pie with ½ the sauce. Add ½ the sausage to each pie. Sprinkle with ½ cup mozzarella and 1/8 cup parmesan. Drop small dollops of pesto sauce evenly across each pie.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, until crust is golden. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before removing from pan and slicing.


About Mikaela Cowles

I’m a food-gobbling, book-reading, aspiring photog. Born and raised in Seattle, I love dancing in the rain, bouquets of fresh basil and green grass between my toes. I like how kneading butter into flour makes my fingers soft. I’m passionate about all things sweet potato. I prefer my coffee black, my scotch on the rocks and my steak bloody. I hunt, when I have time; play basketball; and hike. I’ve been known to laugh so hard I hyperventilate. And, I’m the owner of Making Language Count, a boutique freelance writing business.

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