I have finally done it! I’ve wanted to make deep dish pizza longer than I’ve lived in Chicago, and what I made last night was just fabulous–this recipe is absolutely restaurant quality and will make you very happy. Now I know that my favorite Chicago pizzeria, Gino’s East, does not use corn meal in their crust (despite many rumors to the contrary). So, already, this is not the same crust that they use…but honestly, I can’t tell much of a difference–whatever they do with that crust, it sure tastes like it has corn meal in it.
If you look online, you’ll find all kinds of people saying that you need to get a deep dish pizza pan to make deep dish pizza and to not even bother if you don’t have it. Wrong. Cast iron has the same heat-conducting properties and will make your crust just as crunchy and fabulous as some ridiculously expensive single-use pan that takes up a bunch of room in your cupboards and only gets used once a year.
Now, on to the reason we’re all here. This recipe is for one Chicago style deep dish pizza, made in a 10 inch cast iron pan–enough for two people to be very full and have some leftovers. Adapted from this recipe.
- 1 packet yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil (plus about a tablespoon)
- 2-1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup corn meal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon honey
Dissolve the yeast and honey in the warm (about 100 degrees) water in the bottom of a big mixing bowl. After about five minutes, it should be activated and foamy. Add the oil. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add about half to the wet mixture. Mix in. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until a thick dough forms.
I don’t have a mixer or a food processor so I did this with a spatula, but it would be much easier/faster to use a food processor or mixer with a dough hook if you have one. The good thing about the corn meal is that it keeps the dough from getting as sticky as regular pizza dough gets.
Put the dough into an oiled bowl, cover loosely with a towel, and put in a warm location. My house is freezing so I turn on the oven for about five minutes, turn it off, then leave the door open so it’s nice and warm–about 90 degrees. Leave to rise for 45 minutes.
When you come back, the dough should have doubled in volume. Oil your cast iron pan and push the dough up to cover the whole bottom of the pan plus the sides. Leave the dough to rise again in the pan while you prep the pizza toppings–this is what gave my crust such texture; there are little air bubbles all over the sides and bottom, making it crunchy but not hard. Then, preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
- about 1/2 lb mozzarella
- scant 1/4 cup shredded romano or parmesan
- 1-2 cups tomato sauce
- Other toppings you enjoy
My favorite part about Chicago style pizza is that the cheese is on top of the crust. The cheese melts all over the crust, sticking to it and just generally being delicious. Slice the mozzarella into thin slices, layering them over the bottom of the crust. Add any toppings you’re using on top of the mozzarella–I used artichokes, onions, and spinach because those are what we had in the fridge. Cover it all with the shredded romano.
Spoon the tomato sauce over everything. I used a small bit of tomato paste mixed into my favorite jarred pasta sauce–Classico basil and garlic. Garnish with some more shredded romano/parmesan and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the crust has gotten a lovely dark golden brown. Let it rest for a few minutes before you cut it, and be aware that it will be really gooey and cheesy and messy. Enjoy!