Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza, Lightened Up

On Thursday night, just after the clock struck twelve, I was all set to shut down the computer and head for bed. (That's when I blog, between the hours of 9 pm and 12 am. While the kids are in bed and the house is quiet!) I had just finished typing this post about deep dish pizza, and rather than publish it, I hit "save". I wanted to look it over in the morning (after my coffee) when my mind was a little sharper. I was focused on sliding between my flannel sheets and reading a few pages of the new book on my night stand before drifting of to dreamland, so when the question popped onto my computer screen: Are you sure you want to navigate away from this page? I clicked "YES". Sure I was sure. What a silly question. I wanted to go to bed! Apparently I answered the question wrong. I should've tried to save again, because when morning rolled around, the only thing that I had left of this post was a title. None of it saved. Gone. Completely gone. Grrr. Which is why I sit here at 9:30 on a Saturday morning, with my lazy weekend breakfast: one egg, fried to over-easy in a little olive oil atop a slice of deli ham and light wheat toast, trying to remember exactly what I wrote about deep dish pizza on Thursday night.

At least it's a quiet morning. My oldest daughter is off to the "Squeakquel" with friends. My youngest is still in her fuzzy, footed pj's, draped over the bean bag chair with a bowl of Cheerios, contentedly watching The Wonder Pets. A pretty snow is gently falling outside of my kitchen window as the birds eat their breakfast too.

I love mornings like this. All cozy inside my house, no place that I have to be. Well, no place except for blogland...recreating a post that I've already written. Sigh. Well, I suppose this is more fun than folding the laundry. So here goes....Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza...

Most Friday nights I make pizza for our family. It's tradition. Friday night rolls around, and if we're at home, everyone expects pizza for dinner. Sometimes I try new recipes, with non-traditional flavors like Buffalo Chicken or Tostada pizza. Sometimes I think I'm fancy and the toppings tend toward the gourmet. Sometimes we make it on the grill. Sometimes everyone in the family builds their own pizza. Sometimes...well, if you want to check out some of the pizzas that I've made in the past year just click HERE. It may seem that we have a bit of a pizza obsession in this house. That's probably a fair assessment. Hey, if we ate the same pizza every Friday night I think that it would get bor-ing! And pizza is a sure thing that everyone will eat and it's a perfect one dish meal combining servings of carbohydrates, meat, dairy, and vegetables all in one. Three cheers for pizza! Or "pee-pa" as my toddler calls it. One type of pizza that I have not attempted in my kitchen is Chicago Style Deep Dish pizza. When I came across this recipe while flipping through old issues of Cooking Light, I knew it would be perfect for dinner. I liked the fact that this recipe had been "lightened up". Let's face it, deep dish pizza isn't really a low calorie dish and now that the gluttony of the holidays has come to an end, we're making an effort to eat a little healthier. I have eaten deep dish Chicago-style pizza on a few occasions in it's city of origin and I'd say that this recipe could stand up to my restaurant favorites. However, it does lack that fried effect of the crust that we love about deep dish pizza. Traditional Chicago style deep dish pizza uses a good deal of oil in the pan to create the fried effect on the outside of the crust. This recipe uses cooking spray to coat the pan, cutting down on fat calories. That said, this crust turned out perfectly crisp on the outside and the whole effect and flavor of the pizza was completely delicious. Of all the pizza recipes I've tried, this is my new favorite. If you're looking for a healthier version of deep dish pizza indulgence, go for this won't be sorry!

To begin, I proofed a packet of yeast with a couple of teaspoons of sugar in a cup of warm water.

While the yeast proofs, assemble the remaining dough ingredients: olive oil, flour, cornmeal, and salt.

Combine the dry ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup of flour. Stir the oil into the yeast. Then stir the dry ingredients into the yeast mixture.

Stir until the dough begins to form into a ball.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. As you knead, add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to your hands. I think I only needed to add about 2 tablespoons.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. I set mine on top of my pre-heated oven.

While the dough raised, I did the prep work for my pizza toppings. First, you want to chop or "squish" a 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes. Then stir in some fresh basil and oregano. Place in a sieve to drain for 10 minutes.

Okay, so truthfully the basil was fresh and then I used oregano from my spice rack. My oregano plant took a hit last month while I was preoccupied with Christmas preparations and my family's bout with the flu. Just look at him! I decided to leave the 4 decent leaves remaining on those sad, dehydrated branches. No sense in adding insult to injury. He'll either die with a little dignity or (hopefully) bounce back and I'll have fresh oregano again.

Next, I thinly sliced a package of mushrooms and cooked them over medium high heat for 5 minutes. I also added half a diced green pepper and cooked it for another 8 minutes until tender. Next time I make this I'll probably toss in 1/2 of a sliced onion and a couple cloves of minced garlic too. Salt and pepper the veggies to taste.

Once your dough has risen for 45 minutes, gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.

Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. My floured surface happens to be the new pastry mat that I received for Christmas. No more pulling out the ruler to check dough dimensions for me! Yay!

Roll the dough into an 11 x 15–inch rectangle. Somehow with all of those convenient little marks telling me when to stop rolling, I still got carried away with my rolling pin and the rectangle got a little large. Oh well. I'm not really sure why the dough looks so much darker in the picture below than in the other shots. Maybe because the sun went down? Maybe it was where I was standing when I took it? Hmmm. 'Tis a puzzlement.

Place the dough in a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray and press up the sides of dish. I like to sprinkle a little crushed rosemary, garlic salt, and parmesan cheese into the bottom of my pan before pressing in the dough. It's gives the pizza a little extra somethin' somethin'. : )

Now we get to fill this dough bowl that we've created with all sorts of yummy things, beginning with cheese. Toss in 1-1/2 cups of mozzarella.

Top with 1/2 pound of browned Italian sausage. In my opinion, turkey or chicken sausage are a good way to cut the fat and taste just as good.

Now spread on that veggie mixture. I left the South end zone picky-kid-friendly and skipped the veggies there.

Arrange the drained tomato mixture over the veggies.

Sprinkle on a little more mozzarella and bake for 25-30 minutes. I ended up broiling mine for a minute or two at the end just to get that cheese nice and bubbly.

And there you have it, Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza...a little lighter.

Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza adapted from Cooking Light October 2009

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 piece)


2 teaspoons sugar
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
12.38 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 3/4 cups), divided
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
2 precooked mild Italian chicken sausages (about 6 ounces), casings removed, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms (about 6 ounces)
1/2 of a green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 of an onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2- 1 teaspoon crushed rosemary
1/2- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese


1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in olive oil.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 11.25 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) flour, cornmeal, and salt in a bowl. Stir flour mixture into yeast mixture until dough forms a ball. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky).

3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Roll dough into an 11 x 15–inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Place dough in a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray and sprinkled with rosemary, garlic salt, and parmesan; press dough up sides of dish. Spread 1 1/2 cups cheese evenly over dough. Arrange chopped sausage evenly over cheese.

4. Preheat oven to 400°.

5. Chop tomatoes; place in a sieve. Stir in oregano and basil; drain tomato mixture 10 minutes.

6. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add mushrooms and garlic to pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in bell pepper and onion; cook for 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Arrange vegetables over sausage; spoon tomato mixture evenly over vegetables and sausage. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until crust browns and cheese bubbles. Cool 5 minutes before cutting.

Nutritional Information
Fat:9.2g (sat 4.6g,mono 3.2g,poly 1g)


Gloria Chadwick said...

I've had Chicago deep-dish pizza and yours looks authentic... and really good! :)

Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

Yeah, I've lost a post or two in my time... but the good news is that you rarely make the same mistake twice...

Great eats, I really love all the details. And really, is there anything prettier than a rising ball of dough

Katy said...

This. looks. amazing. I enlarged the picture to get up close and personal with your pizza, and I am STARVING for it. Well done!!

A Cooking Bookworm said...

Mmmm... yummy looking breakfast, by the way! ;-)

We love pizza here, too, and I'm also always trying new variations to keep it exciting. Two of our favorites are Buffalo Chicken and Chicken Cordon Bleu!!

I've never tried making Deep Dish...but yours looks super yummy and definitely worth changing up my next pizza night for!

Heidi said...

I hate it when that happens!!! Your breakfast did look good though :)

Unknown said...

Mom and I made your Cranberry Orange Scones on Christmas morning and I commented that you needed to get a pastry mat...and you did! Someone in your family reads your blog and must think the same thing as me! I love reading this, by the way!

Alejandra Ramos said...

You have no idea how good this looks to me right now!! It is exactly what I'm craving. What a great post...thanks for sharing the recipe!

Julie said...

Looks like big time comfort food to me!

Kim said...

I love that you have the nutritional values at the bottom of your posts. I was just talking with my friend about making deep dish pizzas. I've never made one before, but I know we would love it. I'm putting this one on my "to make" list. All of your pictures are gorgeous. I'm originally from NE Ohio too, Elyria to be exact. The NE ohio winters are much more harsh than the winters here in KY.

Donna-FFW said...

Your breakfast photo, OMG does that ever look good.

The pizza too, I love deep dish style, I have never made it homemade before.. looks fantastic.

theUngourmet said...

You really are my pizza hero. This looks wonderful!

My kids want to see that movie so badly!

Reeni said...

That's horrible when you lose a post - it's happened to me too. I write mine out in Google Docs and copy and paste now. It's free with a gmail account if your interested.

Your pizza looks delicious! I haven't had a deep dish in so long. You have me craving it. Love the abundant toppings!

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