What makes Chicago deep dish pizza different is of course that it is not very much like a classic Italian pizza, with thin crusts and delicate toppings. During the depression of the thirties, followed by the war years of the forties, Americans ate one-dish meals of “casseroles” — easily procured ingredients that would satisfy the stomach, stretch the budget and not cost many ration coupons.
Therefore, the more you could load onto a pizza crust, the better it would be, and doubtless a deep pan would be more like a casserole. Moreover, the crust would not need the fancy stretching and pushing, even tossing, that the traditional Italian thin pizza would require. The mozzarella cheese would be on the bottom and the crust and toppings would all bake and ooze together and become one of America’s legacies to fat foods nationwide and waistwide. It’s an indulgence a teenager could hardly resist after a ballgame, let alone someone who might be escaping the chill of the Windy City on a snowy night.
You can find lots of pizza uno’s recipes for Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza on the Internet including those listed below.
1 cup warm tap water — (110 to 115 degrees)
1 package active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup coarse-ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil
1 pound mozzarella — sliced
1 pound sausage — removed from the casing and crumbled
1 can whole tomatoes – (28 oz) — drained, and coarsely crushed
2 garlic cloves — minced
3 teaspoons dried oregano (or 5 fresh basil leaves, shredded)
4 tablespoons freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
Pour the warm water into a large mixing bowl and dissolve the yeast with a fork.
Add 1 cup of flour, all of the cornmeal, salt, and vegetable oil.
Mix well with a spoon.
Continue stirring in the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Flour your hands and the work surface and kneed the ball of dough until it is no longer sticky.
Let the dough rise in an oiled bowl, sealed with plastic wrap, for 45 to 60 minutes in a warm place, until it is doubled in bulk. Punch it down and kneed it briefly.
Press it into an oiled 15-inch deep dish pizza pan, until it comes 2 inches up the sides and is even on the bottom of the pan.
Let the dough rise 15 to 20 minutes before filling.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling.
Cook the crumbled sausage until it is no longer pink, drain it of its excess fat.
Drain and chop the tomatoes.
When the dough has finished its second rising, lay the cheese over the dough shell. Then distribute the sausage and garlic over the cheese.
Top with the tomatoes. Sprinkle on the seasonings and parmesan cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes at 500 degrees. Then lower the temperature to 400 degrees and bake for 25 to 35 minutes longer.
Lift up a section of the crust from time to time with a spatula to check on its color. The crust will be golden brown when done.
This recipe yields 6 servings.
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