Monday, October 3, 2011

Have a Piece-a Pizza

Growing up, I'm sure I had dish deep pizza a time or two. But deep dish pizza is not necessarily synonymous with Chicago style deep dish pizza. Outside of Chicago, I think a majority of people assume that you can press any old pizza dough up the sides of a pan and call it deep dish. Well, any old dough does not a Chicago pie make.

I didn't get a true taste of Chicago style until I moved within 90 miles of the city. Shamefully enough, my first taste didn't actually occur in Chicago, but rather in Milwaukee (where we have some surprisingly suitable imitations). I started on Edwardo's, a chain serving Chicago style pies that they call stuffed. Then I think I went to Uno, which is actually a Chicago original that has branched into locations across the country. But it wasn't until just a few years ago that Bill brought me to Chicago for Gino's East, one of the most famous pizzerias in the city (along with the original Uno and Lou Malnati's, neither of which I've had the pleasure of trying yet).

Simply put, Gino's was life changing. It is the definition of Chicago and nearly insurmountable in the pizza world. If you haven't been wowed by Gino's pizza yet, let me try to describe it for you ... the crust is thick, flaky, buttery, colored a rich, golden brown, and insanely delicious. It's almost like a pie dough, which is what makes the signature Chicago style pie.

I immediately jumped at the chance to replicate this deliciousness when I saw the recipe on ATK's The Feed this weekend. Could it be?, I thought. A true Chicago deep dish with the buttery, pie-like crust? By all the work involved, it certainly sounded like it.

So I set out on Sunday to at least match our favorite Gino's pizza. I tweaked ATK's version slightly, by cutting it in half, adding Italian sausage (which is what we always get at Gino's), and taking some liberties with my sauce. And when all was said and done, Bill told me ... that it was better than Uno's. I'll take it! (In fact, I didn't even ask how it compared to Gino's. The Uno's comment was good enough.)

BTW, I had one genius idea that the Test Kitchen didn't come up with (amazingly enough). I made my pizza in a springform pan (the one reserved for the cheesecakes I never make). It released brilliantly, and less cooling time required!

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza
For the Dough
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/8 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
3/4 cup water, room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons butter , melted, plus 2 tablespoons, softened
1/2 teaspoon olive oil

For the Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup grated onion
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

For the Toppings
2 Italian sausages (I used chicken, my new favorite!), casings removed
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
Grated Parmesan cheese

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 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. (It honestly took about 4 minutes and 47 seconds for this dough to come together completely. I was nearly read to hand-knead it, but patience truly paid off.)

Coat large bowl with cooking spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning once to oil top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.

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 about 1 1/2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in basil and oil, then season with salt and pepper.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Using rubber spatula, turn dough onto dry work surface and roll into 15- by 12-inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over surface of dough, leaving ½-inch border along edges. (The Test Kitchen suggests using an offset spatula to do this, which I'm sure works wonderfully but I was too lazy to get mine out. I just used my fingers and it worked just as well.) Starting at short end, roll dough into tight cylinder. With seam side down, flatten cylinder into a rectangle, fold into thirds like business letter, then pinch seams together to form ball. Return ball to oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in refrigerator until nearly doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.
Coat a 9-inch springform pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Transfer dough to dry work surface and roll into 13-inch disk. Transfer dough to pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling pin and unrolling into pan. Lightly press dough into pan, working into corners and 1 inch up sides.

Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over dough. Spread 1¼ cups tomato sauce over cheese and sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over sauce. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


  1. Glad the deep dish experiment worked so well. :-) Next time you visit IL with me, we will stop either at Lou Malnati's or Giordanos for more samples of deep dish funness!

  2. I love that it's pizza season again. And that deep dish looks delicious.

  3. Dan, you MUST make this pizza. It's amazing.

    And Tiff, when are we going??

  4. This pizza was delicious. Gino's better watch out!!

  5. This looks quite literally out of this world. Otherworldly :o I've only ever had deep dish pizzs at Zachary's, supposedly that's the closest thing to authentic Chicago as you can get here.. but I'm sure there's nothing like having some in its native land. Your version looks unlike any other homemade pizza I've ever seen.. this is straight up restaurant style. Is there anything you CAN'T do in the kitchen!? Judging by your blog, I'm hard pressed to find something :)

  6. Michelle, I had almost forgotten about Zachary's! And you know why? Because it can't even compare to real Chicago deep dish. And, I dare to say that mine has Zachary's beat :)

  7. Giordano's changed my life. Too bad it closed at MU and was reborn at Grand Avenue Mall as a damn Applebee's. SMH

  8. Giordano's...that sounds vaguely familiar, but it may have been before my time in Milwaukee. As far as I can remember, that Applebee's has been Applebee's since I moved here.

    They just closed the Pizzaria Uno in Brookfield, so now I really have no choice but to make my own deep dish. The only local option left that I can think of is Edwardo's, and that's just not my fav.