Here’s how to make authentic-tasting Chicago deep dish pizza. Complete with the buttery crust, slightly sweet tomato sauce, and a thick layer of cheese.
I recently looked at my website’s stats and came to find out that Chicago is my most popular city in the US. I have more Chicago readers than any other place in this country. That’s crazy awesome because I love Chicago. As a little tribute to my #1 city, I’m finishing one blow-out year with a Chicago inspired recipe.
I’ve only had the pleasure of having real, authentic Chicago-style pizza a few times in my 29 years. And those few times have been enough to convince me that Chicago-style pizza is incomparably good. Better than good. That pizza is life changing.
Ok maybe I’m slightly exaggerating but that’s par for the course, eh?
So, what makes Chicago-style pizza so damn amazing? The answer is everything. Every little detail about this pizza is special. First, this pizza clearly doesn’t look like a pizza you are used to. It’s baked in a deep dish cake pan. The cheese goes directly on top of the crust and the sauce is piled on top. An upside-down pizza pie of sorts. Now, I may be completely wrong, but I’ve learned that the proper way to eat Chicago-style pizza is with a fork. Is this right, Chicago readers? I hope so because it’s the only way I can eat it without making an atrocious and very embarrassing mess.
For the Dough:
3¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
1¼ cups water, room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon + 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup grated onion
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
¼ teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
For the Toppings:
1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 4 cups)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
HOW TO MAKE IT:
Make the Dough: Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl.
Add water and melted butter and mix on low speed, using a dough hook, until fully combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl occasionally. Increase speed to medium and knead until the dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from sides of the bowl, 4 to 5 minutes. (You can easily make this by hand, mixing in the water and butter with a spatula and then kneading by hand.)
Coat a large bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Using a greased spatula, transfer the dough to the bowl, turning to coat the dough in oil; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in volume, 45 to 60 minutes.
Make the Sauce: While dough rises, heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and salt; cook, stirring occasionally until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Stir in tomatoes and sugar, increase heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to about 2½ cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil and olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.
Laminate the Dough: Turn the dough out onto dry work surface and roll into a 15×12-inch rectangle. Using an offset spatula, spread the softened butter over the surface of the dough, leaving a ½-inch border along the edges. Starting at the short end, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. With seam side down, flatten the cylinder into an 18×4-inch rectangle.
Cut the rectangle in half crosswise. Working with one half, fold into thirds like a business letter; pinch seams together to form a ball. Repeat with the remaining half. Return balls to the oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in refrigerator until nearly doubled in volume, 40 to 50 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower position and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Bake the Pizzas: Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons of olive oil each.
Transfer 1 dough ball to dry work surface and roll out into a 13-inch circle. Transfer dough to the pan by rolling the dough loosely around a rolling pin and unrolling into the pan. Lightly press dough into the pan, working into corners and 1-inch upsides. If dough resists stretching, let it relax for 5 minutes before trying again. Repeat with remaining dough ball.
For each pizza, sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella evenly over the surface of the dough. (If you’re using any meat or veggie toppings, add them now, on top of the cheese.) Spread 1¼ cups tomato sauce over the cheese (or toppings) and sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over the sauce. Bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove pizza from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.