• 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or salad oil
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1 cup Colby Jack cheese
  • 1 pound Italian sweet or hot sausage, cooked and sliced; or about 3 cups of the sautéed vegetables of your choice
  • 1 cup sliced turkey pepperoni
  • 1 (8 ounce) can sliced black olives
  • 28-ounce can plum tomatoes with basil, oregano and garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, optional
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Pizza Seasoning or mixed dried Italian herbs (oregano, basil, rosemary), to taste
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, to drizzle on top

With the AFC championship games on the line this weekend, I was excited to see pizza on the schedule in this week’s Comfort Food Feast.  So far the Food Network and bloggers like me have shared with you our recipes for pot pies, our best potato side dishes and chocolate chip cookies.

Watching football is one of our favorite family pastimes. Sunday our family waited for the game of the year — the Patriots versus the Ravens! Although the end result was very disappointing for us (we are die-hard Pats fans!), it was the time we spent preparing our football fare and enjoying the food and the game together that made our family a winning team.

We decided to try our hands at Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza and boy was it terrific!

There are several differences between the pizzas made in Chicago and the pizzas we are used to up north.

  • this pizza is made in a pie or pizza pan (funny because today, January 23, is actually National Pie Day!)
  • the crust is made with three fats: butter, vegetable oil and olive oil
  • slices of cheese (not grated cheese) are used
  • the cheese is placed directly on top of the crust not on top of the pizza sauce
  • this pizza sauce is chunkier and sweeter than the sauce made up north
  • the toppings are put on before the tomatoes

1. To make the crust: Mix the dough ingredients, and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a smooth crust. This will take about 7 minutes at medium-low speed in a stand mixer.

2. Place your dough in a large lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel. Let the dough double in size, about 60 minutes.

3. While the dough is rising, grease a 14″ inch deep dish pie or pizza pan with non-stick vegetable oil spray, then pour in 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, tilting it to cover the bottom of the pan, and partway up the sides.

4. Stretch the dough to make as large a circle as you can. You can do this on a lightly oiled baking mat, if you choose; or simply stretch the dough in your hands.

5. Lay the dough in the pan, and stretch it towards the edges till it starts to shrink back. Cover, and let it rest for 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 425°F while your dough rests.

6. Stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan, then gently push it up the sides of the pan. The olive oil may ooze over the edge of the crust. Let the crust rest for 15 minutes or so, as your oven comes up to 425°F.

7. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, until it’s set and barely beginning to brown. While it’s baking, prepare the filling.

8. Drain the tomatoes thoroughly. Combine them with the sugar. Add salt to taste. this was difficult because we had to resist eating the tomatoes — they were so good!

9. Cover the bottom of the crust with the sliced mozzarella and Colby Jack, fanning it into the crust. Add the sausage (or sautéed vegetables), turkey pepperoni and black olives then the tomato mixture.

10. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan Reggiano and drizzle with the olive oil.

11. Bake the pizza for about 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and carefully lift it out of the pan onto a rack. A giant spatula is a great help here. Allow the pizza to cool for about 15 minutes (or longer, for less oozing) before cutting and serving.

12. ENJOY! Waiting for this pizza to cool was so difficult! Amanda and I actually counted down the last 10 seconds! Then it was every man (or woman) for him or herself!

Yield: about 12 servings.

Be sure to check out these other creative pizza recipes!

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Gluten-Free Grain-Free Mini Pizza Faces
Feed Me Phoebe: Deep-Dish Polenta Pizza With Onions and Pesto
Haute Apple Pie: Honey, Gouda and Goat Cheese Pizza
What’s Gaby Cooking: Loaded Veggie and Prosciutto Pizza
Sweet Life Bake: Mexican Pizza – Tlayuda con Chorizo y Frijoles
Devour: Unexpected but Delicious Pizza Toppings
Virtually Homemade: Mashed Potato Bacon Pizza
The Cultural Dish: Pizza, Pizza, Pizza! Three Delicious Variations
Thursday Night Dinner: Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza
The Heritage Cook: Gluten-Free Pizza Focaccia
FN Dish: As Quick as Delivery Pizza Recipes