I remember when I had my first, deep-dish pizza in Chicago…something I will never forget. This is right up there with my first kiss, first date, and my wedding day! Trust me, it’s an experience to savor!
I was a Junior in high school and all 8 of us piled into my friend’s old beater Chevy complete with a piece of clear, red plastic duct-taped over a broken tail light, stopped at the corner liquor store to pick up some Little Kings, (don’t tell my mom!), and hit the road to head over to Chicago for a Bob Seger concert and a fantastic restaurant called “Gino’s East”!
I had heard that they had “good pizza”, but no one warned me of what I was in for!
We ordered one of their loaded specialties, and as I looked around the table at all of the people, especially the big guys, I thought, no way was one pizza gonna be enough to feed us all! I’m going to have to have a plan and grab a piece fast or I might be dining on salad!
But when the pizza came, I realized why they ordered what they did! My eyes must’ve looked like I was 7 years old again getting my first bike at Christmas!! It was HUGE! I mean, almost scary huge! It had to have been 3-4″ thick and….the sauce was on top?! Say what?? I had never seen that done before and started to have my doubts. This is what everyone has been raving about? This can’t be good. This is just wrong.
Then our waitress started serving up the pieces…layers and layers of cheese…the GOOD cheese…the kind of cheese that leaves long strings behind that you have to cut to break….and all of the goodies loaded inside – – like a package with a big red bow on it!! 😀
The aroma was intoxicating! (Or maybe it was the Little Kings we snuck in? I dunno.) But it was so aromatic that it made you dizzy!
One pizza was PLENTY to feed us all! It must’ve taken us almost an hour to finish eating. One piece and we were all stuffed to the gills!!
It was one of the best pizzas I had ever had, one of the best I’ve had to this day! What a wonderful memory of a fun night with good friends, great pizza, cold beer, and a killer concert! *sigh* To be a teenager again…
WAIT! What am thinking? Oh HELLZ no. But I’d give almost anything to relive that pizza!!
Though it could never be as good as theirs, it’s still better than any take-out pizza around here, that’s for sure! But homemade is always better! 😉
There’s just something about getting to make it yourself that jut makes it taste better. 😉
So if you don’t have the luxury of living near Chicago, nor have very good pizza places in your neck of the woods, either, here’s a recipe that will surely impress even the harshest of pizza critics!
A royal treat on a fun Friday night! Invite over some friends, dust off some old vinyl records, and relive some of the crazy times you had, too! I hope you enjoy!! Have a most wonderful day everybody! 🙂
SWEET HOME CHICAGO-STYLE DEEP DISH PIZZA
1 (1/4 oz.) packet rapid rising yeast
1 cup warm water
1 Tbl. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbl. olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbl. finely grated parmesan cheese
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 (6 oz.) can Contadina Italian Herb Tomato Paste
1 (14.5 oz.) can Hunt’s Stewed Tomatoes
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 lb. ground mild or hot italian sausage
1 (8 oz.) container fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 small green bell pepper, diced or thinly julienned
1 shallot, peeled, halved and sliced very thin
35-40 slices hot pepperoni
1 (2.25-3 oz.) can good quality sliced black olives, drained
1 2/3 cups homemade pizza sauce, above
3 tsp. finely grated parmesan cheese
2 lbs. good mozzarella cheese for pizza, shredded
For pizza dough:
In large mixer bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar and salt. Let sit til foamy on top. Beat in oils, basil, garlic powder and half of the flour. Beat for 10 minutes. Add remaining flour and cheese. With dough hook, pulse until incorporated. Continue kneading on medium for 10-12 minutes til smooth and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Transfer to large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in warm place for 1 hour or til doubled in size. Punch down, rise again. Roll out onto floured board or freeze to store. Makes 2-12″ pizzas or 1 deep dish.
For the sauce:
In blender or food processor, pulse until combined and coarse chopped.
To make pizza:
Break up sausage into nickel-sized pieces and sauté until done. Remove to paper towel-lined bowl. In small bowl, place cut up peppers and shallots, sprinkle with water, cover with paper towel and nuke about 1 minute until softened a little. In 9″ wide, 3″ deep oiled cast iron skillet, place thinly rolled out dough. (Across bottom, up sides and overhang an inch.) *Save aside 3/4 lb. mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup sauce for top. Cover bottom with 1″ deep layer of mozzarella. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. parmesan cheese, then half of pizza topping ingredients of choice sprinkling with a little more mozzarella after each ingredient. Drizzle evenly with about 2/3 cup pizza sauce. Cover with 1″ layer of mozzarella. Press gently. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. parmesan. Repeat ingredients adding in last of cheeses except top amount. Drizzle with 2/3 cup sauce. Top with 3/4 lb. mozzarella. Roll up overhang of dough to inside of skillet around edge. Brush dough with oil. Bake in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove, top center with last 1/3 cup sauce, bake 5 minutes longer. Let rest before cutting. Best eaten with a knife and fork!