Chicago Pizza ~ Is there anything better? I do not think there is any bias involved in any Chicagoan saying NO! Our pizza is simply the best. Travel the country and check out what many cities try and pass off as Pizza. Not even close.
Last Christmas my family was in Phoenix. Two of the former Chicagoans/current Phoenicians took the rest of us to the "best pizza place" the Valley had to offer.
Yuck ~ nothing but meatballs atop saltine crackers, if you ask me. That was not pizza where I come from.
One of my first places of employment was in a pizza kitchen. I paid attention. Pizza doesn't have to be an expensive every other Friday or once-a-month treat. Put down the phone and carry-out menu and preheat your oven to 475.
Follow this recipe, and I promise you can make the next best thing to carry-out (when considering Chicago standards) in your very own kitchen.
Make the dough...
3 cups flour
pkg. dry yeast
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP sugar
1 Cup warm water
mix above in a large bowl...be sure to mix dry ingredients first before adding water and oil. Knead the dough and separate into three equal pieces. You may let it sit a bit to rise...(much easier to work with)...or you may start rolling it out right away.
Should be enough dough to make three 15 inch pizzas.
While it rests you can mix up the sauce...
Homemade Pizza Sauce:
6 oz tomato paste
14.5 oz tomato sauce
clove garlic (minced)
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1 Tbsp olive oil
*mix above in a medium size bowl...makes enough for three pizzas
- Take one-third of the kneaded dough and using a rolling pin, roll it out as thin as you like. The thinner, the better (if you ask me, but if you like it a bit thicker, feel free, but instead of dividing into three parts, you may just want to half the dough). Once rolled out, using a large plate as a guide cut around the diameter of the plate to form the rounded crust.
- Place that dough on a cookie sheet/pizza stone/pizza pan sprinkled with cornmeal (secret ingredient to prevent sticking/encourage crispy crust.
- Now put that pan in the 475 degree oven for about two or three minutes to pre-crisp it.
- After a couple of minutes, take it out and put the sauce on using a wooden spoon to spread it around, in a "half-moon" type motion.
- Using bulk sausage, form a patty in your hand. Dip that patty (on both sides) in a bowl of parmesan cheese. The coated patty helps the sausage not stick to your hands as you put it on the pizza. Break off small pieces (NO MEATBALLS!!) and place on the sauced crust. Start in the middle and put the sausage on in a straight line. Go back to the top and go back down again, forming another "column", continue until the entire round of sauced dough is covered.
- Add any veggies you might like~we like green peppers, mushrooms and onions here, but feel free to put whatever combo you might like on your pizza.
- Cover it with about two cups of mozzarella cheese.
- Back into the oven for about fifteen minutes or so...we leave it a bit longer as we like our pizza well done.
- Once cooked to your liking, take it out and using a large kitchen knife/pizza cutter cut in pie shape or in squares.
- Enjoy :)