Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

by Kelly on August 25, 2011

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.

Deep dish pizza-2

Deep dish pizza-1Because 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.

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza
Adapted from Cooking Light
Serves 8


-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
-Cooking spray

-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!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Neil Butterfield August 26, 2011 at 4:57 am

This looks and sounds awesome. I love pizza and usually order my own concoction of bacon, ham, chili, garlic and onion.


Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living August 26, 2011 at 7:58 am

I don’t think I’ve actually ever had Chicago-style deep dish pizza, but yours looks great!


5 Star Foodie August 27, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Your deep dish pizza looks excellent!


Lori Lynn August 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Hi Kelly – hailing from Chicago myself, I am excited to see a Chicago-style pizza in the Cooking Club line-up. Nice job, I bet it tasted great!
I worked at Gulliver’s on the North Side, famous for their pan pizza in the early 80’s. I remember how difficult it was to carry the extra larges to the tables, they weighed a ton, and we used some kind of pan grabber to lift it…
My favorite was half ground beef & half Italian sausage, onion, and bell pepper. Have you ever been?


deana August 27, 2011 at 1:22 pm

I have made a million pizzas in my time… but my fav, as a Chicago girl, was a deep dish from Old Town. They did something magic…. have never quite gotten it. They did use a lot of olive oil in the pan that made it pure evil. Yours is a lovely version. WHen I moved to NYC it took me a long time to love thin crust… my heart still belongs to Chicago style… I make it most often! Great job!


Pam August 27, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Way to go! That’s why I like living here—-for the great pizza! lol I will have to try this. Thanks for the recipe!


Kerstin August 27, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Mmmm, I’ve never made a deep dish pizza but really want to after seeing this! It’s one of the many things I miss about Chicago.


Trix August 28, 2011 at 8:21 am

I have always been a New York style pizza gal, but this looks beautiful – definitely worth switching allegiances, at least temporarily. ; )


shannon August 29, 2011 at 12:45 pm

definitely never made one like this, but yours is making me think twice about what’s for dinner tonight 😉


Lizzy August 29, 2011 at 9:11 pm

This looks awesome!! I’m coming to Chicago this week and cannot wait for authentic deep dish!!! Thanks for this recipe, I will have to try it out when I get back.

PS- Do you remember me? We worked together at Mullen (I think!)


Elina (Healthy and Sane) August 30, 2011 at 10:50 am

Traditional Chicago deep dish pizza dough has a lot of butter, no? I used to LOVE it until a really bad experience at UNO’s after a drunken night out. I haven’t been able to even look at it in years. Maybe I’ll ease myself back into it with your version 🙂
PS – I’m hosting a giveaway today only so check out Healthy and Sane for your chance to win. It’s a really good one!! 🙂


Tanantha August 30, 2011 at 5:30 pm

This is the second entry for deep dish pizza for the challenge! Go deep dish style! I had a very good deep dish pizza in Chicago and I’m excited to see this. This looks delicious!


Carolyn Jung August 30, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Deep dish is a meal in itself. And this one looks worth every single calorie. Mmm, pass the plate, please. 😉


Bren @ Flanboyant Eats™ September 3, 2011 at 9:28 pm

wow! I haven’t had a Chicago-style deep dish in years! There used to be a pizzeria in the D.C. area called Uno’s Chicago’s Pizzeria—I swear it was my fave place to eat for the longest time. Soooo good. Love to see someone have tackled this one.


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