Is there anything more comforting than a slice of pizza? Specifically, deep-dish pizza? It’s been unseasonably warm the past week, but with the temperatures dipping down low again, now is the perfect time to make this classic.
It’s a lot easier than you may think and the results are pretty close to the original, because there’s actual butter layered in the crust which makes it amazing. When I went to Chicago over Thanksgiving break with my mother, we stopped by Giordano’s pizza and it was fantastic. It was so filling and so cheesy, and so unbelievably good, and I know I can’t get anywhere near that perfection, but this recipe gets me pretty close.
(Dough recipe from Cook’s Illustrated)
3¼ cups (16¼ oz.) all-purpose flour
½ cup (2¾ oz.) yellow cornmeal
1½ tsp table salt
2 tsp sugar
2¼ tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
1¼ cups water (10 oz.), room temperature
3 tbsp unsalted butter , melted, plus 4 tablespoons, softened
1 tsp plus 4 tablespoons olive oil
For the pizza:
1 jar of homemade or pre-bought pizza sauce
1 pound of mozzarella cheese, shredded (do NOT buy pre-shredded cheese, make sure you grate it yourself)
2-3 links of hot italian sausage with casings removed
Thinly sliced mushrooms
Grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling on the top
For the dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and yeast together on low until incorporated — about 1 minute. Use the dough hook attachment. Add the water and melted butter and mix on low speed until fully combined, about 1-2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Keep in mind the dough will only pull away from the sides while the mixer is on, and will fall back to the sides when the mixer is off.
Coat a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, using your fingers. Rub any excess oil from fingers onto the blade of a rubber spatula and transfer the dough to a bowl, turning once to oil the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until it’s nearly doubled in size, about 45-75 minutes.
Heat your oven to 425 degrees, and put the oven rack on the lowest position (I had to move mine to the next to lowest position due to my particular oven). With a rubber spatula, turn the dough out onto a dry work surface and roll it into a 15 by 12-inch rectangle. Using an offset spatula, spread the softened butter over the dough but leave a ½-inch border along the edges. Starting at either short end, roll the dough into a tight cylinder (like you would cinnamon rolls). With seam side down, flatten the cylinder into a 18 by 4-inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half, crosswise. Take one half and fold into thirds (like a business letter), pinching the seams together to form a ball. Repeat with the other half. Place both dough balls into an oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough balls rise in the refrigerator until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.
Oil two 9-inch round cake pans or cast iron skillets with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil each. Place 1 dough ball on a dry work surface and roll out into a 13-inch disk, about ¼-inch thick. Transfer dough to the pan by rolling it loosely around the rolling pin and unrolling it into the pan. Press the dough into the pan lightly, working into the corners and up the sides by 1-inch. If the dough is tough to work with, let it relax about 5 to 10 minutes before trying again – I took my dough out about 10-15 minutes before I rolled it and I did not have a problem with the dough being too tough. Repeat with the other dough half.
To assemble the pizzas:
Divide the cheese in half and sprinkle even amounts over each base of dough. Lightly press down. Next, layer the sausage evenly over the cheese, followed by the thinly sliced mushrooms. Spread sauce on top of the toppings so there is an even layer – about 1 1/4 cups, to 1 1/2 cups. Finally, sprinkle grated parmesan over the top of the sauce. Bake the pizzas until the crust is golden brown, between 30-45 minutes (mine took a little longer to fully bake through). Remove the pizza from the oven and let sit for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.
Note: Since this recipe for dough makes enough for two pizzas, you can either keep in your fridge for up to 2 days, or wrap the extra ball of dough in saran wrap and freeze. When you take it out of the freezer when you want to make a pizza, just let it sit out on the counter until it comes to room temperature.