To get things started I wanted a recipe for a food that I love but had never actually cooked before. When I saw the recipe for Meat and Veggie Lover's Deep Dish Pizza, I knew that would be a pie worth baking. I've long enjoyed the deep dish, especially in Chicago, but I had never attempted to make one myself. I figured that I ought to be able to make it in a cast iron skillet easy enough (although the recipe does call for cake pans).
Step one was to head to Calandro's Supermarket to stock up on all the essentials... I mean ingredients (yes, that is a six pack of Tin Room Amber in the bottom left of the cart... no, it was not in the recipe). Calandro's had everything I need to make this pizza from the semolina flour to the fresh kalamata olives. One stop did the trick!
I actually started with the pizza dough because it needed time to rise. The dough contained active dry yeast, water, semolina flour, all purpose flour, olive oil, and salt. Once I got it kneaded and set aside to do its things, I started working on the sauce. Making a pizza sauce from scratch is definitely the way to go. I started with toasting a few fennel seeds before adding in some olive oil. Once the oil was hot the onions hit the pan along with the garlic, oregano and thyme sprigs, red wine, red pepper flakes and other seasonings. Once all of that was cooked down I added the peeled cherry tomatoes and let it all simmer together.
With the sauce ready, Calandro's hot Italian sausage browned, and mise en place in place, I was ready to return my attention the dough.
I actually had enough dough for two pizzas so I cut it in half and then began to roll it out!
Once I thought I had flattened the dough out evenly enough and large enough to cover my cast iron skillet, I laid it on top of the pan and used my chef's knife to trip around the edges. This skillet was looking delicious already!
First in went a nice layer of grated mozzarella followed by some Boar's Head pepperoni that I picked up at Calandro's.
Next up came the rest of the toppings. Sausage, bell peppers and mushroom all filled the pie. The olives were also added before a second layer of grated mozzarella.
Then came multiple ladles of that delicious tomato sauce. I couldn't believe how delicious this sauce was. I almost didn't want to put it into a pizza... and then I fortunately thought better of that. Putting it in a pizza was the BEST thing I could possibly do with it!
The sauce was topped with freshly cut basil and oregano and then layers of sliced mozzarella that I got from the deli at Calandro's. It ended up working out perfectly for the top part of the pie. I also added a little more basil and oregano to the top for a little garnish, then into the hot oven it went!
The result made my taste buds leap of my tongue. After pulling the pie out of the oven I topped it with some parmigiano-reggiano that I grated by hand then allowed it to cool before digging in. The mozzarella on top had turned golden brown and the crust developed the perfect form and function for a tasty deep dish. The recipe as a whole took several hours of work, but the kitchen is a good time, and this pizza was completely worth it! I can't wait to see (taste) which recipe out of Emeril's book I pick next!