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An Easy Almost Chicago-Style Deep Dish Sausage Pizza

Very often around here Friday night’s are pizza night and more often than not I make my own pizza. It seems just as easy, doesn’t take a lot of time to make, and costs less than buying 2 pizzas from our favorite pizza place nearby. I have nothing against getting a pizza now and then; we do it ourselves on nights where no one has the energy to cook,but I just think for the minimum effort it takes to make the dough or even buy the pizza dough (most times a pound of dough is only about a dollar), you can make a pretty good pizza on your own. Sean had been asking me to try making a deep dish pizza because he wanted it, and I found a pretty easy recipe on the Cooking Channel website that was a good one to try.

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Sausage Pizza

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, sliced into thin rounds or removed from the casing and crumbled

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 pound pizza dough, at room temperature, or 1 serving of Food Processor Pizza Dough, at room temperature

10 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded or thinly sliced

1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce or 1 1/2 cups crushed and strained tomatoes

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Cook the sausage until the sausage is nicely browned and cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Grease the inside of a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with the softened butter. Place the pizza dough in the center of the skillet and spread the dough evenly towards the bottom edge and 1 1/2 inches up the sides.

Begin layering the ingredients on your pizza crust by evenly laying the sausage on the dough, followed by the mozzarella cheese and then by the tomato sauce or the tomatoes, whichever you happen to be using. Sprinkle the garlic and the dried oregano on top of the cheese and sauce. Finish the topping by adding the Parmesan cheese on top and drizzle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

Place the cast-iron skillet on the bottom rack of the oven and cook the pizza until the edge of the crust is golden brown and crusty, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and allow the pizza to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Just a couple of quick notes about my experience with this recipe. First, you should preheat the oven for about 20 minutes or so to make sure the temperature is nice and hot before you put the pizza in. This seemed to make a big difference for me. Secondly, I didn’t get the pizza as “deep dish” as I would have liked it since I did not have quite enough dough to fully go up the sides of the pan. I had split the dough in half to make two pizzas and kind of short-changed myself, so make sure you have enough dough if you really want that deep, crispy crust. Thirdly, the sequence in the layering does seem to make a difference in getting the crisp bottom that you want. Putting the sausage on the bottom does make a difference here and helps to crisp the crust. You could, of course, use any toppings that you like for your pizza, but since we all like sausage pizza it worked well for us. This recipe is a very easy one that is perfect when you want the crunchy, deep-dish style pizza.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on May 18, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Pizza

 

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Try a Classic Pizza Recipe – Roberta’s Pizza Dough and Pizza Margherita

Pizza is always a great option for dinner and to me it tastes even better when you can make your own at home. I have tried a lot of pizza recipes and started making my own dough about a year ago. Once I saw how easy it actually was and how much money I could save by making my own pizzas instead of ordering out from one of the local pizza places, I decided to do it almost all the time. Sure, like anyone else there are times when you are too tired to cook or just feel like having a slice of pizza from your favorite pizzeria, but if you are planning ahead, you can make some great pies on your own. Recently the New York Times posted recipes for pizza dough and pizza Margherita from Roberta’s, a well-known pizzeria located in Brooklyn. The pizza looked very good so I thought I would give it a try and see how it came out.

Roberta’s Pizza Dough

153 grams 00 Italian pizza flour (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon)
153 grams all-purpose flour (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons)
8 grams fine salt (1 teaspoon)
2 grams active dry yeast (3/4 teaspoon)
4 grams extra-virgin olive oil (1 teaspoon)

In a large mixing bowl, combine both flours and  the salt. In a small mixing bowl, stir together 200 grams (about 1 cup) lukewarm tap water, the yeast and the olive oil, then pour it into the flour mixture. Knead the dough with your hands until it is well combined, approximately 3 minutes, then let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.
Knead the rested dough for 3 minutes. Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Place the dough on a heavily floured surface, cover the dough balls with a dampened cloth, and let them rest and rise for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature or for 8 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. (If you refrigerate the dough, remove it 30 to 45 minutes before you begin to shape it for pizza.)
To make pizza, place each dough ball on a heavily floured surface and use your fingers to stretch it, then your hands to shape it into rounds or squares. Top and bake as you like.
Just as a note, the measurements for the dry ingredients are given by weight for greater accuracy. If you have a scale that you use for baking you will get the most accuracy. The equivalent measurements that are provided are by volume and are approximate. The dough was very easy to make and to work with and had some great flavor, making it perfect for the Margherita pizza recipe also from Roberta’s that was supplied by the New York Times.
Margherita Pizza
1 12-inch round of pizza dough, stretched (see recipe)
3 tablespoons tomato sauce 
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 3/4 ounces fresh mozzarella
4 to 5 basil leaves, roughly torn
Place a pizza stone or tiles on the middle rack of your oven and turn the heat to its highest setting. Let the oven heat for at least an hour.
Put the tomato sauce in the center of the stretched dough and use the back of a spoon to spread it evenly across the surface, stopping approximately a 1/2 inch from the edges.
Drizzle a little olive oil over the pie. Break the cheese into large pieces and place these gently on the sauce. Scatter basil leaves over the top.
Using a pizza peel, pick up the pie and slide it onto the heated stone or tiles in the oven. Bake the pizza until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling, approximately 4 to 8 minutes.

If you want to make a quick homemade tomato sauce that is perfect for the pizza, in a food processor, whiz together whole, drained canned tomatoes, a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and you are good to go. I actually put a couple of slices of tomato on mine as well just to round it out and I used a little more cheese than the recipe called for. The pizza has a nice thin crust and great flavor with just the simple ingredients so you can make this easily at any time.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!
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Posted by on April 24, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Pizza

 

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More Fun With Homemade Pizza Dough – Stromboli and Breadsticks

I still had some pizza dough leftover from what I made recently and decided to put it to use last night. I had made a pot of turkey chili, one of Michelle’s favorites but one of Sean’s least favorites. Michelle and I both like it but Sean is not a big fan and was looking for something else to eat. I decided to make use of some leftover items such as the pizza dough and sausage and make a stromboli. I have made one before using Scott Conant’s recipe and it was very good, but I decided to try something a little different this time and gave this one from Emeril Lagasse a shot.

Stromboli

1 pizza dough portion from the Food Processor Pizza Dough recipe

1/4 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, removed from casings and crumbled

1/2 cup sliced onions

1/4 cup thinly sliced red bell peppers

1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow bell peppers

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 pound sliced ham

1/4 pound thinly sliced pepperoni

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a large baking sheet or place a baking stone in the oven to heat.

In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat until browned and the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the skillet. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring, until very soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

Punch down the dough and on a lightly floured surface roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 10 inches by 14 inches. Spread the cooled sausage mixture across the dough, leaving a 1-inch border on the edges. Overlapping slightly, layer the ham, pepperoni, mozzarella and half of the Parmesan cheese over the top of the sausage mixture. Using a pastry brush, paint the border of 1 long edge with the egg wash. Starting at the opposite long end without the egg wash, roll up the dough into a cylinder, pinching the edges to seal. Place on the prepared baking sheet and allow the dough to rise for 20 minutes.

Brush the top of the stromboli with the egg wash. Bake until nearly golden brown and starting to crisp, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle the top of the stromboli with the remaining Parmesan cheese and return it to the oven until the cheese is melted and the dough is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the stromboli to stand for 10 minutes. Slice thickly and serve.

The great thing about stromboli is that you can really put anything inside it. Sean is not a big fan of the peppers, so I left them out and put some extra ham and cheese inside instead. You could just as easily put leftover chicken in there or any other vegetables you may like and have on hand. You can even just do vegetables and cheese if that is what you prefer. I am guessing Sean liked it since he devoured it.

Since I still had a little bit of pizza dough left, I decided to make some small breadsticks with what I had leftover. This is a very simple way to make use of some leftover pizza dough if you happen to have some around.

Homemade Breadsticks

1 portion pizza dough from the Food Processor Pizza Dough recipe

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Roll the dough into a rectangle and cut the dough into 12 to 15 thin strips. Place the strips on the baking sheet and cover the dough with a towel and allow it to rise for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the olive oil over the dough to coat the breadsticks. Sprinkle the breadsticks with the Italian seasoning and the Parmesan cheese and bake in the oven until they are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.

You can use the breadsticks to go along with any type of meal, like spaghetti and meatballs or any other dish that you like. Michelle and I used them with our chili and they were quite tasty. They came out perfectly with just the right amount of seasoning.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for some more recipes to try. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Breads, Cooking, Dinner, One Pot Meals, Pizza, Side Dishes

 

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Better Than Delivery: Food Processor Pizza Dough and a Couple of Pizzas

Very often when I make pizza at home I use a store-bought dough to make life a little bit easier for me. I have bought the dough and sometimes a pre-made pizza crust so we can have a quick meal. Recently I came upon recipes both from Williams-Sonoma and America’s Test Kitchen that made pizza dough right in the food processor with minimal ingredients and no real kneading at all, making it very easy to make your own dough at home. I actually ended up combining the two recipes somewhat to make my own pizza dough for this one. The America’s Test Kitchen recipe used bread dough, which I liked, but made too many pizza crusts for me, so I combined it with the Williams-Sonoma recipe to get what I wanted.

Food Processor Pizza Dough

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water (105° to 115°F)
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade, combine the flour and salt and process with 3 or 4 pulses. With the motor running, slowly add the yeast mixture, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. Continue processing until the dough forms a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute, then process for 1 minute more.

Coat the inside of a large bowl with the olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1⁄2 hours. Divide the dough in half and roll out as directed in the pizza recipe.

This recipe makes two 12-inch pizzas, which was perfect for my needs. It was very simple and didn’t take long at all. I was then able to move on to the pizzas. The first pizza I made was a simple cheese pizza, since that is all Sean really likes anyway.
Classic Cheese Pizza
1 Food processor pizza dough
Flour for the counter
1 recipe Pizza Sauce (to follow)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position, place a baking stone on the rack and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Let the baking stone heat for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and shape it into a smooth, round ball and cover it with plastic wrap. Allow it to rest at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.
Uncover the ball of dough and stretch and shape the dough into a 12-inch round on a piece of parchment paper. Spread 1 cup of pizza sauce over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch edge of dough uncovered. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan across the pizza to cover it. Lightly brush the edges of the pizza dough with some olive oil.
Slide the parchment paper and pizza onto a rimless or inverted baking sheet, then slide it onto the hot baking stone. Bake until the crust edges brown and the cheese is golden in spots, about 8 to 13 minutes.
Transfer the pizza to a cutting board, discarding the parchment paper. Cut the pizza into 6 or 8 wedges and serve.
I rolled out he pizza dough with a rolling pin instead of working it by hand. I just seem to have better luck working with the dough this way so I went with it, but do what you are most comfortable with. The crust came out great, though I probably kept the cheese pizza in for a minute or two too long as it browned a bit more than I would have liked, but Sean didn’t seem to care since he devoured all of the pizza. The pizza sauce recipe itself is quite simple:
Basic Pizza Sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Heat the oil and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the garlic is sizzling, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
I made a second pizza, but decided to try things a little bit differently and went for a sausage and pepper pan pizza instead of using the baking stone.
Sausage and Pepper Pan Pizza
1 Food processor pizza dough
2 links Italian sausage, cooked and sliced 
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cored, sliced thin
1 cup Basic tomato sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-inch cake pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil or coat the bottom of an ovensafe skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Lightly roll the dough into a smooth ball. Roll and shape the dough into a 9-inch round and press it into the oiled pan or skillet. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set it in a warm spot (not in the oven) until puffy and slightly risen, about 20 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and ladle the tomato sauce on the pizza dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Sprinkle the pizza with the mozzarella cheese and then top it with the sliced Italian sausage and the bell pepper. Sprinkle the top with the dried oregano. Bake the pizza in the oven until the cheese is melted and the sausage is browning around the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven and allow it to rest for 1 minute in the pan. Using a spatula, transfer the pizza to a cutting board and slice into the desired amount of wedges.
I really liked the thick crust that came out with the pan pizza and I love the sausage and peppers on a pie, so it worked out well for me. I actually used red, yellow and orange pepper on my pizza since I had some small sweet peppers on hand. Since Sean was full from eating the other pizza, There was plenty leftover so I can have some for lunch today.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for some more recipes. There is still plenty to come – a classic Chinese chicken takeout recipe, some oven barbecued ribs, cinnamon buns, and more. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!
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Posted by on October 25, 2013 in Cooking, Dinner, Pizza

 

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Jennifer Probst

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Laissez Faire

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