I’ve told you before that Friday night in our house is Pizza Party Night.
Depending on the day, and the work week, I alternate between making pizza homemade, buying the yummy Brookshire’s take-and-bake pizzas or sometimes breaking down and ordering delivery pizza.
So you can say I’ve eaten a lot of pizza in my day.
But this one takes the cake. Or in this case, the (pizza) pie. I laid in bed last night trying to wax poetic about the nirvana that was this pizza, but came up short of the perfect words to describe this heavenly creation.
Earlier in the week, I’d seen a recipe for a deep dish, Chicago-style pizza…baked in a cast iron skillet.
Was there any doubt this girl would be trying that recipe, as soon as humanly possible?
Nope. As soon as Friday came around, there was pizza preparation going on in my house.
Now two things are critical about pizza, in my humble opinion: the sauce and the crust.
Really great pizza starts with a really great crust. I will admit I was a bit leery of this Chicago style pizza; in my experience with imitations (because this recipe is now the gold standard), the crust is soggy and limp. You need to eat it with a fork (or in some cases, a small shovel).
But this crust…oh this crust…held up to four layers of cheese and pepperoni. I was, at first, a bit skeptical of the corn meal. I’ve used it ON a pizza stone, to keep the crust from sticking, but never incorporated it in the dough. But it’s delicious. Furthermore, it was my first time to assemble the dough in my food processor. Super simple and quick. (But alas, I still managed to splatter flour everywhere).
Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza in the Cast Iron Skillet
1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 pkg dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 TBS water
3 Tbs olive oil
1 (14 oz) jar pizza/tomato sauce
2 cups combined Parmesan, asiago, mozzarella, provolone and romano cheeses
8 oz pepperoni
(toppings of your choice)
Place all of the dry ingredients, including the yeast into a standard sized food processor.
Pulse the dry ingredients to combine and then pour the combined wet ingredients through the feed tube in a stream.
When the dough forms a ball, let the dough process for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, enough heat is generated to activate the yeast.
Put the dough into a non-reactive container, cover and let rise.
If you don’t have a food processor, assemble the crust ingredients as you would any yeast dough, and let it rise once.
Into an oiled 10 1/2-inch cast iron skillet, pat or roll the dough out dough to cover the bottom, and about 1 and 1/2 inches up the sides. If the sides of the dough don’t want stay up, and they tend to shrink back down, don’t worry. As the topping ingredients fill the pizza during assembly, it is easy to push the sides back up, by pressing down into the “corners” of the skillet. The filled pizza will keep the sides in tact.
Spread sauce over crust.
Next a layer of a blend of five Italian cheeses: Parmesan, asiago, mozzarella, provolone and romano.
Top with a layer of pepperoni. Then more cheese. And more pepperoni. Four layers worth. (yes, you read that correctly. This pizza is worth the Monday morning trip to the cardiologist. I promise.)
The miracle crust comes in how you bake this pizza, I think.
When you have the pizza topped to your heart’s content, place the cast iron skillet in a COLD oven. Preheat to 475 degrees. When the oven reaches that temperature, turn it down to 375 and bake for 30 minutes.
Let sit for 5 minutes after you take it out of the oven. Slice and enjoy.
Nutritional Information: Calories 414; Calories from Fat 217; Total Fat 24 g; Cholesterol 45mg; Sodium 958mg; Total Carbohydrates 31g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 2g; Protein18g