For this month’s 5 Star Makeover we were challenged with pizza. In some ways, it was the hardest challenge because I, like many of my fellow group members I am sure, have made pizza countless times before. In the face of this, it can be a challenge to think of a combination of ingredients or preparation method that makes it more special than in the past.
Because of this, I decided to keep things simple and go with a dish that would be a nod to my current home – Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza. While classic, this absolutely hit the spot. I love how the crust gets lightly crunchy on the outside but still stays pleasantly doughy and soft on the inside. And the bubbling sauce and molten cheese make for pure perfection. People may argue over which style is best, but right now for me, deep dish takes the cake. Or I should say, pie.
Adapted from Cooking Light
-1 teaspoon sugar
-1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
-1 cup warm water (100 degrees to 110 degrees F)
-3 cups all-purpose flour (about 13 1/2 ounces), divided
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/2 pound turkey Italian sausage (about 2 links)
-1 cup finely chopped onion
-1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
-1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1 tablespoon tomato paste
-1 teaspoon dried oregano
-1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
-2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
-1 tablespoon cornmeal
-1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
-2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
To prepare dough, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour and salt to the yeast mixture, stirring with a whisk until well combined. Stir in 1 3/4 cups flour, stirring until a dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky).
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees F), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let stand 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
To prepare topping, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage and onion; cook for 5 minutes or until sausage is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain; set sausage mixture aside.
Return pan to medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook 5 minutes or until moisture evaporates, stirring frequently. Remove mushrooms from pan, and set aside.
Return pan to medium heat; add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds or until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in oregano, fennel, and tomato sauce; simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce mixture is slightly thickened.
Coat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil, and sprinkle cornmeal over oil. Place dough in skillet, gently stretching edges to evenly coat bottom and sides of pan. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over the bottom of dough; top evenly with sausage mixture and mushrooms. Top mushrooms with sauce mixture; sprinkle Parmesan over sauce. Bake at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes or until crust browns and topping is bubbly. Let pizza stand 10 minutes before serving.
Be sure to check out the blogs of my gracious hosts to see the round up!