Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, or “Pizza” As We Call It In New York

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The biggest problem with Chicago-style deep dish pizza, especially for a New Yorker, is that it’s called “pizza.” I’m not sure what else it could’ve, or should’ve been called, but when you grow eating thin-crust, and all of a sudden someone hands you a plate of this, with a fork, and calls it pizza, it’s quite the shock to the system.

Having said that, for the home cook at least, this deep dish pizza is actually much easier to pull off than your classic thin-crust, which really benefits from a 700 F. pizza oven. Another advantage is that we don’t have to worry about too much, or too many toppings, which is usually the fatal flaw of a poorly made NY-style pizza.

One key, besides the buttery, cornmeal-infused crust, is to be sure your sauce is very thick, and flavorful. Some Chicago pizzerias simply use seasoned, coarsely crushed tomatoes, but I prefer using a sauce, as long as it’s reduced at least as much as you see here. Your favorite will work, but just in case you don’t have one of those, here’s a link to our official pizza sauce recipe.

I went with a pretty basic sausage and cheese version here, but you can, and probably should, add other things like peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Same goes for switching up the cheeses, but I do like the combo of fresh, and firm mozzarella. I don’t think it’s quite as good if you use all one, or the other. Regardless, I really hope you give this “pizza” a try soon. Enjoy!

For the dough (enough for a 12-inch cast iron skillet):
1 1/3 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for the pan
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 3/4 cups flour, plus more as needed

For the fillings/toppings (in order of application):
4 ounces sliced provolone
8 ounces fresh mozzarella
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, removed from casing
4 ounces firm, low-moisture mozzarella
3 to 4 cups very thick pizza sauce (I made a double batch)
2 ounces (about 1 cup very finely grated) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil for the top
more cheese and parsley to garnish

- Bake at 425 F. for about 35 minutes

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