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My husband was born in Chicago and this recipe comes straight from his first hand experience eating and making REAL deep dish pizza.  2 pieces will fill you up with pure gooey, oozy, warm pizza joy. There is no counting calories here, girls. This beast of a meal is meant to be enjoyed with a pure heart, free of guilt. A workout the following morning is highly recommended.

Flavor profile:

  • Texture:  Crisp, buttery crust with slightly crunchy toppings and oozing with cheese
  • Flavor:  Full of sausage, peppers, basil, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella pizza yumminess

Expertise and time required:  Easy, done in about 1.5 hours if buying pre-made crust. If making your own crust, add about 2 hours as the dough needs to rest.

Tips before you start You will require a deep dish pizza pan or large cast iron skillet. You can save time and effort by buying pre-made dough (but it won’t be the real deal). You can pick some up at the grocery store or even at a local pizzeria. Pre-made dough isn’t the traditional deep dish buttery flakey crust, but it does the job. If you want to make the traditional crust, see recipe below and add about 30 minutes to the prep time. Also, sometimes the pizza can become watery in the oven.  This is caused by certain toppings such as mozzarella cheese (squeeze excess water out of it) and water based veggies like spinach and mushrooms. Use them sparingly and you’ll be good to go.

Serving Size: 2 pieces.  1 pie will serve 2-3.

Ingredients: 

1 Cup of bell pepper, diced

1 Cup of white onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

Handful of baby spinach leaves

Handful of fresh basil, torn

3-4 links of sweet or spicy Italian sausage, removed from casing and crumble (leave out if you are vegetarian)

12oz fresh mozzarella cheese (quality matters here, squeeze out any excess water and break into 1 inch pieces)

1 Cup grated parmesan cheese (go for quality stuff)

1 large can of plain plum tomatoes, skinned in its juice

Dried, crushed red peppers for seasoning

Dried oregano for seasoning

Salt & pepper

4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 stick of butter

FOR MAKING YOUR OWN DOUGH

3 1/4 Cup flour

1/2 Cup yellow cornmeal

1 1/2 Tsp table salt

2 Tsp sugar

2 1/4 Tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 1/4 Cup warm water

½ Cup olive oil

Step 1: Make the dough (skip if you are purchasing pre-made dough)

Mix yeast, ¼ cup of warm water, ¼ cup of flour and sugar in a bowl cover and let stand in a warm place for 15~20 minutes then mix in all the other ingredients. Mix well and let stand covered for about 1.5 hours.

Punch down and knead until the correct texture is achieved (add a bit more flour so it’s not sticky). You may have some excess dough you can freeze and use for another purpose (or better yet, another pizza!).

Step 2:  Cook the sausage and make the sauce

Cook the crumbled sausage in a pan until browned on all sides, then set aside.

Put the canned plum tomatoes into a saucepan under medium heat and crush the tomatoes well with a wooden spoon.

Season with some of the dried oregano, some crushed red pepper and salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3:  Roll the Dough

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Sprinkle some of the flour on a clean surface and roll the dough into a large circle, careful to not make the dough stretch too thinly.

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Grease the pizza pan with butter (be liberal) and position the dough into the pan driving the dough as high up on the edges of the pan as possible (1.5 inches minimum).

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Spread some butter onto the dough and smear with your fingers to thinly coat.

Place in the oven for 5 minutes.

Step 4:  Add the Toppings

Add the garlic, bell pepper and onion and put back into the oven for 5 minutes.

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Then add the sausage and enough of the mozzarella cheese to cover the majority of the toppings.

Add the spinach and basil.

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Lower the oven heat to 400 degrees F.

Place in the oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

Remove the pizza and add the sauce to cover the cheese.

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Continue to bake for 25-30 minutes turning 180 degrees once halfway through the cooking process.

Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes (the worst part of this whole process – waiting to eat!)

Step 5:  Serve!

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Carefully remove the pizza from the pan (I use two spatulas and transfer it to a cutting board)

Cut slices with a large sharp knife or pizza cutter and drizzle a little high quality olive oil on the slice to finish.  Provide some parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper to add as you like.

Feast!

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Earn another slice!

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