Uptown Chicago on the Chukchi Sea: Pan-fried garlic chips and lots of parmesan create a tasty topping for this Margherita-stye deep dish pizza.
Barbra’s formative food experiences were considerably more worldly than mine. For her, deep dish pizzas were part of growing up. But I still vividly remember my first encounter with deep dish pizza. It occurred during my senior year of high school when one of my track teammates qualified for nationals in the javelin. The meet was in Chicago. When he got back, he raved about a strange and wondrous food called “Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.” The way he told it, a single lare slice of this thick, crusty, meat-and-cheese-stuffed pie would constitute a meal for a regular person.
After that, I kept my eyes open, hoping to find such a pizza on a local menu or in our supermarket’s frozen food section. But back then, in my small town in western Pennsylvania, there were no Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizzas. (I felt like an epicurean adding a little extra cheese and a sprinkle of Italian Seasoning on my frozen Red Barrons.) Many years later, when I finally did get the opportunity to try a deep dish pizza, it was at a well-known pizza chain where, not surprisingly, the experience was entirely anticlimactic.
I’m happy to say that I have finally experienced the gustatory joy of digging into an authentic, perfectly baked, zesty, cheesy satisfying deep dish pizza. Barbra kept the ingredients fairly simple, starting with a Margherita-style filling featuring diced tomatoes, slices of mozzarella, olive oil and a blend of Italian herbs. She topped this with shredded parmesan and pan-fried garlic slices. In our view, pizzas ultimately stand or fall on their crusts. This one was perfect.
Deep Dish Garlic Margherita Pizza
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp yellow cornmeal
- 2 3/4 tsp yeast
- 1 3/4 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp butter, melted
- 1 1/4 cup water
Filling and Toppings
- 3/4 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 28 ounces (two 14 ounce cans) of diced tomatoes, drained thoroughly
- 3 tsp dried Italian seasonings
- 1 tsp dried garlic powder
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- garlic chips (see recipe below)
Directions for Crust
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the crust ingredients in the bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer.
- Turn on dough setting.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl.
- Oil a pizza pan or two 9-inch pie pans by pouring a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in pan and tilting it to cover bottom(s).
- Stretch the dough to make a large circle. Do this with your hands or with a rolling pin on a lightly oiled surface.
- Lay the dough in the pan and stretch the dough up the sides of the pan. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Bake crust for 10 minutes until set and very lightly browned
Directions for Filling and Toppings
- Combine tomatoes with herbs, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Cover the bottom of baked crust with mozzarella slices.
- Add tomato mixture.
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese on the top.
- Top with garlic chips (See below).
- Bake pizza for about 25 minutes. If edges begin to brown too much, cover edges with foil during baking. When finished, pizza filling should be bubbly and top should be golden brown.
- Allow pizza to cool for about 10 – 15 minutes before serving.
- Slice 6 large cloves of garlic into thin slivers.
- Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a medium frying pan. Add garlic slivers and sauté until just browned and edges are crisp.
- Remove chips from heat and drain on paper towel.