Da Best Dish in Town

It’s funny, when we first started this cooking adventure we thought the school year would be the most challenging in terms of finding time to cook our recipes from around the world. This summer, however, is proving far more difficult what with all of the birthdays, Father’s Day, vacations and anniversary celebrations. But for tonight we’re back on our stateside culinary adventure and Mr. N is taking us to the Land of Lincoln.

The recipe selection was our easiest yet. I mean when you think of Illinois, you think of Chicago, and Chicago is synonymous with deep dish pizza. We certainly have consumed more than our fair share of these delicious pies, especially dad and I who at one point in time ordered these on a weekly basis from our neighborhood pizza joint. However, we’ve never attempted to make one which I think is due in large part to the fact that we love them so much, have so many great places from which to order them, and we really didn’t want to screw this up. But Mr. N picked it, so game on.

For our crust we adapted a cornmeal pizza dough bread recipe for the bread machine. The key to Chicago-style deep dish pizza crust is cornmeal. It has to have cornmeal. We made our crust large enough for a 14″ deep dish pizza pan which we greased with olive oil and sprinkled with cornmeal.

We then placed our rolled out dough in the pan and took the edges up the sides.

We picked up some mild Italian sausage from the local Italian market and crumbled about a pound’s worth into a skillet.

We cooked up the crumbled sausage for about 5 minutes, until it was almost all the way cooked, but not quite. We also cooked up the extra sausage links to freeze for another quick meal.

Next we started our sauce which we adapted from Emeril Lagasse. It begins with oil and garlic and eventually incorporates several herbs and peppers – the key being fennel seeds. Chicago pizza sauce needs fennel seeds.

Once the herbs and garlic cook for a minute, we added the crushed tomatoes, wine and sugar and brought it to a boil before simmering.

The sauce simmers for about 30 minutes and then must be set aside to cool before using. Then it’s time to assemble the pizza. We began by adding a pound of mozzarella over the crust in the deep dish pan.

We followed the cheese with the sausage.

Next we shredded some fresh parmesan cheese,

spooned the sauce over the sausage and spread it out evenly. We then drizzled a few teaspoons of olive oil over the sauce and topped with the parmesan.

Looks good so far, no? The pizza then baked for 30 minutes at 475F. The result was a gorgeous looking Chicago-style deep dish sausage pizza, which unfortunately the kids were too tired to see as they had turned in a bit early.

We’re sure they would have been impressed though. Dad and I took advantage of our early sleepers and enjoyed our state night treat al fresco.

The pizza was awesome! And we were quite pleased with our first attempt at a homemade deep dish.

Dad and I both thought it was a great pizza that easily earned 4 spoons. The sauce is phenomenal. In fact, I’ll never buy canned pizza sauce or use another pizza sauce recipe again. I’m sold on this one.

The only thing we’d do differently on this one is adjust the crust recipe a bit. We both thought it could use more cornmeal and less flour. Or perhaps a corn oil versus vegetable oil. We’ll explore and let you know…As for the kids, they gave the leftovers 3 spoons; but don’t worry they got to enjoy a fresh Chicago deep dish pizza too – just one that was ready a bit faster.

Incidentally dad and I had one of these on-hand for a back-up for ourselves too. 😉 Fortunately we got to save it for a different day.

Print these recipes: Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza Crust, Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

30 thoughts on “Da Best Dish in Town

  1. Fee says:

    You need butter on the crust….at giordano’s they butter their pans 🙂 That might be the “flavor” you are missing! Can’t wait to try this…have to figure out a deep dish pan! LOL

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    • Kristy says:

      You know maybe that’s it! Butter the pan and then add the cornmeal. I’m definitely trying that because I know we’ll be making this again. I’m thinking as soon as the fall weather starts to hit and we can enjoy one last meal on the patio. 🙂 As for the deep dish pan – I stole mine from my mom! 🙂 LOL.

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  2. Lisa Y. says:

    Although I can’t wait to try the pizza what I absolutely love is that photo of your itti bitti. It is so cool that she is the only person (other than who took the photo) close in that bean. I loved that when we went there but it was kind of crowded and our photos didn’t turn out as good as this did. Lucky!!

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    • ChefMom says:

      Thanks! It was a kind of crummy weather day and early in the morning. Well, not too early. But it wasn’t very crowded. She just loved the bean! It was so much fun to watch her. She looks so miniature next to it. 🙂 Thanks for visiting and commenting. I hope that you enjoy the pizza. We sure did. 🙂

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  3. Laura says:

    I’ve never made my own deep dish but I’ve been planning to try it out in my iron skillet sometime soon. Your sauce recipe sounds great. I’ll definitely try that out.

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  4. Kay aka Babygirl says:

    Miss A look so adorable in the photo above. And this pizza… oh girl this pizza. You did a wonderful job honoring Chicago. I love a great deep dish pizza, it’s just sinful to eat. And that sausage.. I just love sausage on my pizza. I am totally making this.. HANDS DOWN. This is Saturdays dinner. Tell Mr. N thank you for his pick 🙂

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    • ChefMom says:

      Thanks Kay! It was delish. I was so proud that I had the self-control to freeze a few slices for another day. You’ll have to let us know if you like it. 🙂

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  5. Kate@Diethood says:

    I love the photo of your little one in front of the “Bean”! I had an office that faced the Bean…I would stare at that thing day in and day out…daydreaming. 🙂

    The pizza looks fantastic!! You’ve done Chicago proud 🙂

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    • ChefMom says:

      Not a bad view to have from your office. 🙂 She loved the bean. It was so much fun to watch her with it. That pic was taken on a day she and I spent downtown together, just the two of us. It was such a great day! Thanks Kate!

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    • ChefMom says:

      Thanks so much! The pizza was really good and we were so afraid of how it would turn out (thus our fall back Malnati’s). 😉 Thanks for visiting and commenting. Have a great day!

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  6. Amy says:

    I have a Cook’s Illustrated issue where they tested out a bunch of ways to make the crust for Chicago’s deep dish pizzas. From the article, I was sold. I think it is butter that might have been the key there, but I don’t remember all the details. Anyway, I did save the magazine, as I was willing to try it. I will make you a copy!

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    • ChefMom says:

      I’d love to see that because really the only thing I want perfected in this recipe is the crust. I’m sold on the sauce and the toppings. Mike finally converted me to a sausage pizza eater. Only took him 14 years. LOL.

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    • ChefMom says:

      I actually prefer thin crust too. That said, there are a few restaurants where we order both a thin crust and a deep dish from because we can’t decide, and they are both so darned good. Fortunately for our health we moved out of our favorite neighborhood and away from our favorite pizza place. While I miss the neighborhood desperately, my heart and waistline are thanking me. LOL!

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  7. Kelly says:

    I agree with the cornmeal!! I have not made deep dish before (now inspired) but we use cornmeal to slide dough on and off pizza stone and it works great. Love those bread maker dough recipes… so practical and efficient (and perfectly good!). Your outdoor set-up looks so cozy… fun!

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    • ChefMom says:

      I love my bread machine! I’m sure that homemade would probably taste a bit better, but until I figure out how to make a loaf without killing the yeast, I’m going to rely on old faithful. 🙂 Thanks Kelly – the outdoor set-up was our anniversary gift to each other this year. We’ve never lived in a home where this was practical so we’re enjoying it as much as we can. I just wish the mosquitos weren’t so bad this year!

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  8. Lisa {Smart Food and Fit} says:

    There use to be a restaurant in MI called Uno’s pizzaria and I use to order the deep dish pizza all the time. Wow, you did a great job recreating one and I agree fresh sauce is the best. You are funny, you got a back up pizza just in case! lol
    I can completely understand about not having time to post regularly, though you are doing better than me!! The kids always want to go to the pool or outside and then I’m exhausted at the end of the day!

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    • ChefMom says:

      Yep – I know Uno’s. If you ever find yourselves in Chicago you’ll have to eat at the original Uno’s downtown (or any other deep dish place). It tastes nothing like the Uno’s franchise recipe. Deep dish is so good it’s scary (So are the calories! Ha!) And I hear ya – by the end of the day I’m wiped out. These summer days are packed full and nuts! I just hope we get some warmer and sunnier weather soon. 🙂

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    • ChefMom says:

      It’s a definite must make. Like I said, we’d never done before purely out of a fear of failure – now I think we’ve got a new favorite pizza recipe. 🙂

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  9. Charles says:

    Looks so good – bet it was really nice to enjoy outside with a nice glass of wine. I have a question though, being not overly familiar with traditional Chicago pizzas… Cheese on the bottom and the sauce on top? 😮

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    • ChefMom says:

      Yep – that’s what makes it Chicago-style…cheese on the bottom, sauce on the top. It’s so good! One slice is a meal in and of itself (somehow we always manage to eat at least 2 slices though). There are a lot of good pizza places in the city and depending on who you ask some are better than others, but really it’s all so good.

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