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Friday, March 23, 2012

Deep Dish Pizza - the BEST yet?

My oh my oh my. You all know that I get excited about good eats. Mom's crab dip. Andy's fried wontons. Dali's goat cheese dip...there are a few special items that I hold close to my heart. Pizza in general is a favorite. I think if my sister Holly and I could inject it, we would. So I make a lot of pizza at home, and it's delicious. I have a stone, have finally found the right cheese combo to make it close to perfect. But, there's something about the crust. I just can't get it crispy enough.

Enter cast iron pizza making. I saw this in a Bon Appetit and then looked it up again tonight. I've never been one for a deep dish pizza, I prefer thin and crispy - cracker-like. But this...this is something else. You start with the cast iron pan, then embark on some interesting oven techniques. And what will really throw you off - the always backward Chicago style toppings. Cheese first, sauce last. Turns my world upside down. The result is the crispiest pizza ever with zero clean-up. I mean, none. Pan goes straight back in the cupboard. You must try this...

Here's what you need:

1 store bought pizza dough (that's right - buy it). Leave it out all day at room temp so that it rises and gets to room temp.
Cheeses - I used packaged deli-sliced fontina and provolone and a layer of grated romano. perfect.
Crushed canned tomato - drain for 10 mins or so in a strainer
Meat - I used precooked, ground Italian sausage (I don't recommend veggies for this style of pizza)

*Ingredients depend on how much pizza you're making and how big your pan is. 1 store-bought pizza dough fits a standard, large cast iron pan well.

1. Oil your cast-iron pan with olive oil so that there a good layer on the bottom and the sides of the pan.

2. Gently roll out your dough just bigger than the circumference of the pan. Lay in the pan and push the extra up around the edges of the pan. This is important to hold all of the next layers in like a pie.

3. Place a layer of each cheese on the dough.

4. Lay your meats. Sausage pepperoni, etc. should come now.

5. The crushed tomatoes comes last. A good layer will do, depending on preference.

6. Put the pizza/pan in a cold oven, middle rack, and turn oven on to 500F.

7. Once the oven finishes preheating and reaches 500, turn the oven down to 400 and bake for another 30 minutes.

8. Take the pizza out and let sit for a minute or two. Use a spatula and pull the pizza out of the pan - there should be no sticking at all. Slice it up and ENJOY!!
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