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Oh Pizza, Wonderful Pizza….. March 31, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sturgis District Library @ 12:36 PM
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Mmmmm…  Pizza.  Can you smell the bubbly cheese, the basil, the Italian sausage?  If you can’t right now, then you will as soon as you make this Chicago Style Pizza from Teen Cuisine by Matthew Locricchio.  Every recipe in this book is “doable” for any cook from beginner to expert;  just follow the recipes to cooking genius.  This Chicago-style pizza does require some time for the pizza dough to rise, but you can do something else while the dough is rising since you don’t need to stand around watching it!

For this recipe you will need a deep dish pizza pan that is 14 inches diameter and at least 2 inches deep.  The book says that you can substitute a cast-iron skillet or a baking sheet with 1-inch sides – I haven’t tried it, but if the book says it will work, go for it!


Makes dough for 1 (14-inch) pizza

Teen Cuisine – Photo Credits to James Peterson


1 cup warm water (100 to 110 Fahrenheit)

1 tsp. salt

½ C. cornmeal

2  (¼-ounce) pkg. active Rapid-rise yeast

5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling

1 Tbs. granulated sugar

3 ½ C. unbleached all-purpose flour

If you have a food processor, here is how to mix with it:

•Carefully insert the all-purpose blade into the bowl of a food processor.

•Add the water, yeast, sugar, flour, salt, cornmeal, and olive oil to the bowl of the food processor in that order.  Close the lid and pulse the mixture until it comes together into one ball of dough.  Turn off the processor.

•Carefully transfer the dough to a lightly floured countertop or cutting board.  Knead it a couple of times to make sure the dough is smooth.  Now it is ready for a rest.

•Drizzle a small amount of olive oil into a large clean bowl and add it dough.  Give the dough a few spins and turn it over to lightly coat it with the oil.


•Cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap and couple of heavy, clean kitchen towels.  Place the dough in a warm draft-free spot where it can rise undisturbed for about 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.

•Once the dough has risen, it is ready to bake into pizza.

If you are doing the dough by hand, here is how to mix it:

•Measure ½ of the warm water into a small bowl.

•Sprinkle the packages of yeast over the water and mix in the sugar.  Give it a stir, and then cover the bowl with wax paper or plastic wrap.

•The water-and-yeast combination will need 10 minutes to become active.  The yeast is active when soft bubbles appear on the surface of the water.  If the bubbles do not appear, you’ll have to start over with a new package of yeast, sugar, and fresh water.

•Pour the flour into a large bowl.  Add the slat and the cornmeal and mix well to blend the dry ingredients.

•With a spoon, make a well in the center of the flour.  Add the yeast mixture, the 5 tablespoons of olive oil, and salt.  Use a fork to mix the ingredients into a thick paste.

•Add the other ½ cup of warm water.  Mix together until you have a soft dough.

•Sprinkle a tablespoon of flour on a clean work surface.  Sprinkle some extra on your hands to keep the dough from sticking to them.   Pull the dough from the bowl and place it on the work surface.  Divide the dough in half.  Cover one half with a clean kitchen towel while you knead the other half.

•Begin kneading by pressing the dough away from you with the palms of your hands and then folding it in half.  Pick it up and five it a quarter turn to the right or left.  Work the dough over and over for 5 to 6 minutes, repeating the same action.  Be sure to keep turning the dough in the same direction.  It may be sticky when you begin, but don’t worry.

•From time to time, give the dough a few punches to get the air out.  Knead until it is smooth and springy.  This will take about 7 to 10 minutes.  Cover the dough.  Knead the other half of dough following the same steps.  Combine both halves.

•Drizzle a small amount of alive oil into a clean bowl and add the dough.  Give the dough a few spins and turn it over to lightly coat it with the oil.


•Cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap and a couple of heavy, clean kitchen towels.  Now it is ready for a rest.

•Place the dough in a warm, draft-free spot, where it can rise undisturbed for 1 to 1 ½ hours, until it doubles in size.

•Once the dough has fully risen, transfer it to a clean work surface.  Give it a few punches to get the air out.  Knead it for another 2 minutes.  Now it is ready to bake into pizza!


Makes one 14-inch pizza

1 (28-ounce) can whole Italian-style tomatoes

1 small bunch fresh basil (optional)

1 Tbs. dried oregano

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

10 oz. mozzarella

8 oz. sweet Italian sausage

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Chicago-style Pizza Dough (that you just made!)

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I have used the pre-grated stuff to and it works just fine!)

  • Thoroughly drain the tomatoes in a colander and discard the liquid.  Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and crush them into chunks with your VERY CLEAN hands.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 475 F with one rack on the lowest slot and one rack in the middle slot of your oven.
  • Wash the basil (if using), shake to remove excess water, and dry by rolling in paper towels.  Remove the leaves and discard the stems.  Tear the leaves half, measure out 1/3 cup, and add to the tomatoes.
  • Add the oregano, salt, and pepper to the bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside.
  • Slice the mozzarella into thin slices and set aside.
  • Remove the casing from the sausages by placing the sausages on a cutting board.  With the tip of a knife, cut a slit in each casing the length of the sausage.
  • Peel away the casings and discard.  Using the flat side of the knife spread the sausage meat across the surface of the cutting board.  Chop the meat into small pieces.  Set aside.
  • Pour 1 Tbs. of the oil into a 10-inch skillet over medium heat and heat until the oil is hot but not smoking.
  • Add the sausage and sauté with a large slotted spoon fir 4 to 5 minutes breaking up the sausage as it cooks.  The sausage is done when the meat is not longer pink.  Remove the sausage from the skillet with the slotted spoon, put into a small bowl, and set aside.
  • Use 1 Tbs. of the oil to coat the bottom and sides of a 14-inch pizza pan, skillet, or baking sheet. Lay the dough in the center. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 10 minutes.
  • Using your fingers and the palms of your hands, spread the dough across the baking pan.
  • Pull the edges of the dough up and then fold over the form a ridge all around the sides.
  • Using the tines of a fork, prick the bottom of the dough at ½ inch intervals.
  • Bake the dough on the lowest rack for 5 minutes.  Set a timer so you don’t forget.
  • Remove the dough from the oven.
  • Brush the entire surface, including the sides and the top of the ridge, with another tablespoon of the olive oil.
  • Evenly cover the top of the dough inside the ridge with the slices of mozzarella then evenly spoon the tomato mixture over the mozzarella.
  • Sprinkle the grated Parmesan over the tomatoes then evenly distribute the sausage pieces over the Parmesan.
  • Lightly drizzle the remaining 1 Tbs. of olive oil across the pizza.
  • Return the pizza to the oven and bake on the middle rack for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the crust in lightly browned and crispy.

To serve, slide the pizza out of the baking pan onto a cutting board.  Cut into slices with a sharp knife and serve immediately.



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