Deep Dish or Thin Crust? A debate that has plagued my family for generations. If you ask my Grandpa, a South-Side Chicago native, Thin Crust is king. They have been going to Fox’s Pizza for decades, and anytime I am in Chicago visiting it’s the favorite family meeting spot. With a crispy, thin to the point of non-existent crust, covered in cheese, olives, mushrooms, peppers and sausage it is delightful. I could almost eat a whole family size pizza to myself. But if I close my eyes and think of the pizza of my childhood all I can picture is that thick deep dish, ultra stuffed and ultra cheesey pizza. Sorry Grandpa!
A true deep dish has a thick, crispy, flaky and buttery crust. Next comes the layer of gooey mozzarella cheese, spicy Italian style sausage all covered with stewed tomatoes, fresh basil and a sprinkling of Parmesan. If you are ever in Chicago, Lou Malnati’s is the place to go. One slice is more than enough, but you always eat two or three! The last time I was in town visiting for a week and I had it THREE different times (once for lunch, once as a late night munchy in the hotel and once on the El ride to the airport!). When we got home to Charleston, the Lou Malnati’s withdrawals set in pretty quick, so we went online to get some shipped. It costs a whopping $105 to get one of these masterpieces sent to you! I knew it just wasn’t practical for an addiction like mine so I had to learn how to make one myself. Here’s my best effort to bring a little Chi-Town to your home!
Chicago Style Deep Dish:
- 1 batch Emeril’s Pizza Dough (I use cornmeal instead of semolina flour, I like it better with the little crunch it adds) Makes 2 Pizzas
- Olive oil for pan
- 2 tbsp Melted Butter
- 4 c. Mozzarella Cheese
- One package Spicy Italian Sausage, cooked and sliced (I like Turkey Sausage because I can pretend its healthy!)
- 2 16 oz Cans Stewed Tomatoes, drained
- 1/3 Cup Chiffonade of Fresh Basil (visual of chiffonade below!)
- Parmesan Cheese (For sprinkling on top)
Preheat oven to 475. Grease a 9-inch Spring Form Pan with olive oil, sprinkle bottom with cornmeal and shake out excess to give crust an extra crisp. Cut the risen pizza dough in half and roll out on a floured surface to a little larger than pan, transfer into it and press dough about 1 1/2 inches up the sides of pan. Brush dough with melted butter and allow to rest for a couple minutes. You may have to be persistent with pushing it up the sides, the dough can be springy and pull away but with some effort will stay in its position!
Add a layer of half of the mozzarella cheese, evenly distribute the sausage slices, then cover with the remaining cheese. Cover cheese with a single layer of the stewed tomatoes.
Cook in oven for twenty minutes. After twenty minutes, sprinkle the top with the fresh basil and Parmesan, return to oven and cook an additional 20 minutes. Remove from oven, unspring the spring form pan and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Slice (we like to do just quarters!!) and enjoy!
A Chiffonade is the pretty long thin strips of basil that are really simple to make! Stack basil leaves on top of each other, roll into a tight cylinder and slice width wise through it: