Thursday, May 1, 2008

Chicago Has Nothing On Me!

Look out windy city, here comes Chef Danielle. Your so-called deep dish pizza that you can only get in Chicago has been discovered by a, gasp, Kentuckian! Admittedly, there's is still better but mine was pretty tasty, if I do say so myself. This was my second attempt with yeast and while the crust didn't rise to the ceiling, it still did what it needed to do. I think the cornmeal in the crust is key for making it taste more like the Chicago version. Mine probably didn't have half the cheese that they use, but it was plenty! Have fun with this and add or subtract whatever you like to suit your tastes.


1/4 t sugar
1/2 c warm water (105° - 115°F), plus more as needed
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 1/2 c flour, plus additional for dusting
1/4 c cornmeal
1/2 t salt
1 T olive oil

1 T olive oil
1/4 c chopped pancetta (or bacon)
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 15oz can of diced or crushed tomatoes (I like the fire-roasted ones)
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried basil
salt & pepper to taste
1 small green pepper, diced
pepperoni slices (Get them fresh from the deli, they're better.)
5-6 mushrooms, sliced
2 c grated pizza or mozzarella cheese

1. Make the dough by stirring together the sugar, warm water and yeast in a large bowl. Let stand for 5-10 minutes or until the surface appears creamy. If it doesn't foam, throw it away and start over. It means your yeast is bad. Add flour, cornmeal, salt and oil and stir until dough forms (you may have to add a couple extra spoonfuls of water). Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Dust occasionally with flour to prevent sticking.

2. Place dough in a large oiled bowl and turn dough to coat with oil. Let rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm location until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. While dough is rising, start making the sauce.

3. In a large skillet, fry up pancetta/bacon. Add in onion and turn down heat slightly, letting the onions get soft and slightly caramelized. Add in garlic, tomatoes, green pepper, spices and salt and pepper and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 500°. Oil up a cast iron skillet (the skillet is an important component because it holds in the heat and can withstand higher temps). Punch down dough and knead 4 times. Press dough into oiled skillet with oiled fingers until it comes 2 inches up the sides and is an even thickness on the bottom. Let dough rise in a warm place for 15 minutes, covered loosely in plastic wrap.

5. Sprinkle dough with half of the cheese then top with sliced mushrooms. Cover with tomato sauce. Spread the pepperoni on top and then cover with remaining cheese. Bake for 12 minutes and then lower oven temperature to 400° and bake for 8 minutes more or until edges of crust are golden (you might also have to cover it loosely with foil to prevent over-browning of the cheese). Remove from oven and let sit for at least 5 minutes before cut.

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