Last weekend Tony said that he saw on America’s Test Kitchens the secret to Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.  It’s funny because the host went to Lou Malnati’s in Chicago to get their recipe for deep dish dough recipe, and they wouldn’t give it up – all he kept saying was that their crust was “buttery.”

So they went to the drawing board and came up with this recipe.  Holy Shizz you guys, if you’ve never made homemade pizza before, you have to make this.  If Tony and I had another set of hands we would have given this pizza four thumbs up.  The crust was slightly crisp on the botten, but tender and butter on the inside.

The sausage wasn’t greasy, the cheese was gooey and the sauce brought it all together.  Sadly most of my pictures were taken after the sun went down, so while I wish the photos were better, I hope this inspires you to make this pizza.

Makes two 9-inch pizzas, serving 4 to 6  (or in our case – 2 servings for 1 pizza!)


  • 3 1/4 cups (16 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water (10 ounces), room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted, plus 4 tablespoons, softened
  • 1 teaspoon plus 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup grated onion , from 1 medium onion (note, we left this out)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Table salt
  • 2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (see note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese , shredded (about 4 cups) (we used sliced mozzarella, six slices covered the bottom of our pizza)
  • 1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage (the original recipe was for cheese only – I can’t wait to make a deep dish spinach pizza!)
  • 1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1. FOR THE DOUGH: Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add water and melted butter and mix on low speed until fully combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl occasionally. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, 4 to 5 minutes. (Dough will only pull away from sides while mixer is on. When mixer is off, dough will fall back to sides.)
  • 2. Using fingers, coat large bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil, rubbing excess oil from fingers onto blade of rubber spatula. Using oiled spatula, transfer dough to bowl, turning once to oil top; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in volume, 45 to 60 minutes.
  • 3. FOR THE SAUCE: While dough rises, heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, increase heat to high, and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil, then season with salt and pepper.
  • 4. TO LAMINATE THE DOUGH: Adjust oven rack to lower position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Using rubber spatula, turn dough out onto dry work surface and roll into 15- by 12-inch rec-tangle. Using offset spatula, spread softened butter over surface of dough, leaving 1/2-inch border along edges. Starting at short end, roll dough into tight cylinder. With seam side down, flatten cylinder into 18- by 4-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half crosswise. Working with 1 half, fold into thirds like business letter; pinch seams together to form ball. Repeat with remaining half. Return balls to oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in refrigerator until nearly doubled in volume, 40 to 50 minutes.
  • 5. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each. Transfer 1 dough ball to dry work surface and roll out into 13-inch disk about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough to pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling pin and unrolling into pan. Lightly press dough into pan, working into corners and 1 inch up sides. If dough resists stretching, let it relax 5 minutes before trying again. Repeat with remaining dough ball.
  • 6. For each pizza, sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella evenly over surface of dough. Spread 1 1/4 cups tomato sauce over cheese and sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over sauce. Bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

I know the recipe seems really long, but it comes together pretty quickly.  Here are my crappy photos below:

Because of the butter in the dough, the bowl was squeeky clean:

While the dough rose the first time, I made the sauce.  I used to not like a chunky sauce.  In fact early in our marriage I made Tony puree just about everything – but now I love it!  I scored on this brand of tomatoes  – only .99 cents.

20 minutes later, I had this delicious sauce:

The first rise isn’t really noticable – that’s okay.

Now comes the fun part  . . . the butter!

Then roll it up jelly roll style:

Then roll that – then cut in half – see all the layers!

Then roll into two balls and let them rise in the fridge for 40 minutes.  Again, they didn’t rise that much, but that’s okay.

Whenever I use sausage for pizza, I always buy bulk sausage.  It’s ground a bit thicker and you don’t have any grizzle that you sometimes get using sausage in the casing.

Before putting the dough in the fridge for the second rise, heat the oven to 425 and put your rack on the lower third of your oven.  Roll out the dough and put it in a 9 inch cake pan, pushing the dough up the sides:

Thanks to Tony for taking these next few pics of me in pizza making action – you want to make sure that you press down the sausage so that it fully cooks.

Last touch . . . sprinkling Parmesan cheese over the top.

After 25 minutes:

I let it rest in the pan for about 5 minutes, I couldn’t wait any longer.  It came out with ease.

I intended to only eat one slice to save one to take a picture in better light this morning.  Um, that didn’t happen.  This is hands down the best homemade pizza I’ve ever made.  And I’ve made a lot of pizza on this blog the past 3 years. šŸ˜€

If you’ve made it down this far – thank you!  It’s also our weekly update for the Holiday Challenge.  I did not weigh in this week, and since I was not feeling that great the exercise went out the window.  I am starting to feel better and plan to get a long walk in this afternoon – perfect fall temperatures!!

How was your week . . . need some cheerleading or have something to celebrate??

Happy Sunday. . . I am about to get Bizzy in my kitchen – I’ve got a couple soups in the works and will be making banana sweet potato muffins.