My daughter just turned 14, and she requested I make Chicago Style deep dish pizza for her birthday. I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting pizza recipes. Our family favorite is this one I developed after our first trip to Naples. I’ve also done a breakfast pizza. More recently I posted a Grilled Pizza recipe in a guest post for Traditional Cooking School. But those were hand-tossed crusts that needed to be crisp/chewy. The deep dish crust is a different texture – a little biscuity, and definitely thicker. I also wanted wanted to incorporate a little sourdough to up the nutritional content as well as the flavor of the crust. Usually deep dish pizzas are all about the fillings and the crust always seems a bit lacking.
What I came up with was a pizza with a slightly tangy, toothy crust piled high with plenty of toppings smothered in a chunky tomato sauce. I’ve given you a recipe for sausage with peppers and onions or mushrooms, but you can use your own favorites. Just remember to saute any vegetables first or they may release too much liquid while baking and make things soggy.
3 cups spelt flour or organic whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons sourdough starter
2 teaspoons honey or sucanat
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 to 1 1/3 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz shredded provolone cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 lb. Italian sausage
4 oz fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced green pepper
2 8oz cans organic tomato sauce
1 cup organic diced tomatoes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp raw honey
1/2 tsp garlic powder
a pinch of sea salt
For the Crust:
Combine the cornmeal, flour, sourdough starter, 2 tsp honey and about a cup of the water in a large mixing bowl. Allow this to rest (also called the autolyze stage) for about 30 minutes. Then add in the oil, salt and any more water needed to make a smooth but still stiff dough. Using the dough hook or your hands, knead the dough for 5 minutes. Cover and allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 8 hours or as long as 24 hours. The longer you let it sit the more nutritious your crust will be, however it will also develop a more sour flavor – so it is a balance between the two.
For the Toppings:
Combine the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, 1 tsp honey, garlic powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. Saute the sausage, mushrooms, onions and peppers in a large skillet until the sausage is done and the vegetables are tender. Combine the shredded mozzarella, and shredded provolone in a bowl.
To Assemble the Pizzas:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Generously coat the bottom and sides of two deep dish pizza pans with olive oil. I use a stoneware pan like this, but you could also use a 10″ or 11″ cast iron skillet like this if you don’t have a deep dish pan. Divide the dough in half and gently press the dough across the bottom and at least halfway up the sides of the pans. You don’t want it too thick on the bottom or it will be soggy and not cooked all the way through, but you do want it high enough on the sides that it will contain the deep layers of toppings.
Sprinkle 1 cup of the mozzarella mixture across the bottom of each crust. Divide the sausage mixture evenly between the two pizzas and spread over the cheese. Divide the remaining mozzarella mixture between the two pizzas, and then divide the tomato sauce mixture spreading it evenly over the toppings. Sprinkle the shredded Parmesan over the top of each pizza.
Bake the pizzas for 30-35 minutes at 425 degrees or until the crust is a deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Remove the pizzas from the oven and let them rest, in the pan, on a cooling rack for ten minutes. These pizzas are superhot and if you eat them right out of the oven you will do some damage to your mouth! The resting time also lets the filling firm up enough that when you slice it everything doesn’t just run all over the pan.
- ⅔ cup sprouted cornmeal or organic cornmeal
- 3 cups spelt flour or organic whole wheat flour
- 2 Tablespoons sourdough starter
- 2 teaspoons honey or sucanat
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 to 1⅓ cups water
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese
- 8 oz shredded provolone cheese
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 lb. Italian sausage
- 4 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
- ½ cup thinly sliced onion
- ½ cup thinly sliced green pepper
- 2 8oz cans organic tomato sauce
- 1 cup organic diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- a pinch of sea salt
- olive oil for the pan
- For the Crust:
- Combine the cornmeal, flour, sourdough starter, 2 teaspoons honey and the water in a large mixing bowl.
- Allow this to rest for 30 minutes.
- Add in the oil, salt and any more water necessary to make a smooth but still stiff dough.
- Using the dough hook or your hands, knead the dough for 5 minutes.
- Cover and allow the dough to sit out at room temperature for 8 hours or as long as 24 hours.
- The longer it sits the more nutritious it will be, but also the more sour the flavor - find a balance that works for your family.
- For the toppings:
- Combine the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon honey, garlic powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- Saute the sausage, mushrooms, peppers and onions in a large skillet until the sausage it done and the vegetables are tender.
- Combine the shredded mozzarella and shredded provolone in a bowl.
- To Assemble the Pizzas:
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Generously coat the bottom and sides of two deep dish pizza pans with olive oil.
- Divide the dough in half and gently press the dough across the bottom and up the sides of the pans.
- Keep the bottom crust evenly thin so it will cook completely.
- Sprinkle 1 cup of the mozzarella mixture across the bottom of each crust.
- Divide the sausage mixture evenly between the two pizzas.
- Divide the remaining mozzarella mixture evenly on top of the sausage layer.
- Divide the tomato sauce mixture spreading evenly across the top of each pizza.
- Sprinkle the tops with shredded parmesan.
- Bake the pizzas for 30-35 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
- Remove the pizzas from the oven and let them rest in the pan for 10 minutes - do not skip this step!
- Slice the pizzas and enjoy.
When you’ve had enough turkey leftovers and feel like calling out for pizza, try this deep dish pizza instead. Have you ever made deep dish pizza before? Leave a reply and tell us your favorite toppings. Use the media buttons at the top to Pin this for later or Tweet to friends.
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