The thick, rich crust of this Chicago Deep Dish Pizza uses only two ingredients and is a cinch to make! Topped with spicy sausage and a blend of 3 cheeses, one slice of this pizza is a meal in itself!
The first time I indulged in Deep Dish “Chicago” style pizza was with my now husband, on our first date in Detroit. We spent the afternoon cheering on the Detroit Tigers (I have no idea who they were playing, though I’m sure my husband would remember!) and wanted to grab a bite to eat before heading home. As we walked through the Greektown neighborhood after the baseball game, amazing smells filled the air. What caught my attention, however, was the pleasant aroma of deep dish pizza at one of the local restaurants. We secured a table and started looking over the menu. My husband had previously dined there, but the phenomenon of “Chicago Deep Dish” pizza was a novelty to me. What was this pizza-like creation that was served in a cake pan? I let my husband do the ordering, and he selected a sausage and spinach pizza. Since the pizzas are so thick, they require 30 – 40 minutes to bake. (This gave us a lot of time to navigate through typical first date conversation 🙂 When our sausage and spinach pie finally arrived at the table, I couldn’t wait to dig in. Those layers of salty, sweet tomato sauce, thick, melty cheese, spicy sausage and golden brown crust were like nothing I’d tasted before.
After that first date, I tried my hand at creating a “Chicago” style deep dish pizza several times. My attempts were commendable, but fell short of my visions. I just wasn’t able to nail down a recipe that I liked. Then I tried a two-ingredient pizza dough. Yep, that’s right. Pizza dough with just two ingredients, and no “rest” time. Uh-huh. This recipe is going to rock your world 🙂 The pizza dough itself comes together pretty quickly. Mix self-rising flour and Greek yogurt together, knead into a ball and *boom*! Your pizza dough is finished. Once baked, the crust will have a crispy exterior and an airy, almost-biscuit like interior. The perfect texture and consistency on which to build your mammoth pie.
Chicago-style deep dish pizzas are built “upside-down.” This means the cheese and toppings are placed on the pizza dough, and the sauce goes on top. You can use whatever pizza toppings you’d like, but be sure to extract as much moisture as possible from them prior to topping your pizza. Too much moisture in the pan will hinder the result and you will end up with a “soupy” pizza. I topped my pizza with salami, spinach and roasted red peppers in this recipe. To ensure the sautéed spinach was as dry as possible, I wrapped it in clean paper towels and wrung it out over the sink. I re-wrapped it in a new set of paper towels and continued to extract any moisture until the paper towels remained relatively dry.
So my toppings and dough are finished. Now it’s time to build your pan of cheesy, saucy goodness. Place the pizza dough in your prepared cake or spring form pan and press it against the edges, so there is at least a 1 to 1.5 inch crust. Spread the crust with ricotta and mozzarella cheese – don’t skimp on the cheese here. When you are eating an indulgent deep dish pizza, the cheese is where it’s at! Place your toppings on next and cover those with a second layer of mozzarella cheese! Finally, pour on some chunky tomato sauce, sprinkle on a little Parm and oregano and throw it in the oven. Your house will begin to smell like a genuine Chicago pizza joint. But wait! Be sure to let the pizza rest before digging in! I know, I know, you are excited to try your masterpiece but the wait time is crucial here – otherwise the toppings will “melt” all over. Waiting gives the pizza time to rest and ensures you cut the perfect slice 🙂