Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

Did you ever wonder about the "pie" in pizza pie? This dish will make that connection clear for you. With its 1 1/2" tall crust cradling distinct layers of cheese, sausage, and tomatoes, this is definitely a knife-and-fork pizza PIE. We like to bake this in a big, 14" deep-dish pizza pan; it makes a spectacular presentation, right out of the oven. But if you don't have a big pan, feel free to use two 9" round cake pans.

Deep-dish pizza has a long history in the city of Chicago, where it's revered as a delicious native invention. The crust, based on a recipe whose supposed provenance is Chicago's Pizzeria Uno, has an unusual flaky/tender texture, and great taste — courtesy of three types of fat: vegetable oil, olive oil, and butter. Also, the tiny bit of cornmeal adds subtle but delightful crunch.

Prep
30 mins
Bake
35 mins
Total
2 hrs 35 mins
Yield
one large or two small pizzas, about 12 servings
Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

Instructions

  1. To make the crust: Mix the dough ingredients, and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a smooth crust. This will take about 7 minutes at medium-low speed in a stand mixer.

  2. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl or 8-cup measure (which makes it easy to track its rise), cover, and let rise till very puffy, about 60 minutes.

  3. While the dough is rising, ready your 14" deep-dish pizza pan. Grease it with non-stick vegetable oil spray, then pour in 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, tilting it to cover the bottom of the pan, and partway up the sides.

  4. Stretch the dough to make as large a circle as you can. You can do this on a lightly oiled baking mat, if you choose; or simply stretch the dough in your hands.

  5. Lay the dough in the pan, and stretch it towards the edges till it starts to shrink back. Cover, and let it rest for 15 minutes. Start preheating the oven to 425°F while the dough rests.

  6. Stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan, then gently push it up the sides of the pan. The olive oil may ooze over the edge of the crust; that's OK. Let the crust rest for 15 minutes or so, as your oven comes up to 425°F.

  7. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, until it's set and barely beginning to brown. While it's baking, prepare the filling.

  8. Drain the tomatoes thoroughly. Combine them with the Pizza Seasoning or herbs, and the garlic and sugar (if you're using them). Add salt to taste; you probably won't need any additional salt if you've used the Pizza Seasoning.

  9. Cover the bottom of the crust with the sliced mozzarella, fanning it into the crust. Add the sausage (or sautéed vegetables), then the tomato mixture.

  10. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan, and drizzle with the olive oil.

  11. Bake the pizza for about 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and carefully lift it out of the pan onto a rack. A giant spatula is a help here. Allow the pizza to cool for about 15 minutes (or longer, for less oozing) before cutting and serving.

Tips from our Bakers

  • For individual deep-dish pizzas: Grease the wells of an individual hamburger bun pan. Divide the risen dough into 12 equal pieces; if you have a scale, each piece will weigh about 2 1/2 ounces. Roll each piece into a tight ball, then cover six of them and transfer to the refrigerator. Allow the remaining six balls of dough to rest, covered, at room temperature for 20 minutes. Stretch an unrefrigerated dough ball to cover the bottom of a well, then push it up the sides of the pan. Repeat with the remaining dough. After a 15-minute rest, bake the individual crusts for 10 minutes until they're set and barely beginning to brown. Fill, then bake the pizzas for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Repeat with the remaining (refrigerated) dough.