Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chicago-Style Stuffed Pizza

There are two specialty ingredients I use in this pizza: pizza seasoning, a blend of Italian herbs and spices, garlic, onion, and salt; and semolina, golden durum wheat ground too coarse to call flour, but perfect nonetheless for bread, pasta, and pizza crust.

Put the following in a mixing bowl:

6 cups (27 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup semolina
1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons melted butter  Mix till thoroughly combined.

Add 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water. Use enough to make a smooth dough. You’ll use less in the summer, or if you substitute all-purpose flour for the semolina; and more in the winter, or if you’re in a dry climate.

Mix till everything is cohesive…

…then knead to make an elastic, fairly stiff dough.
Place in a large, greased bowl; cover, and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour.

As you can see by the ruler, this isn’t a really vigorous riser.

 For best flavor, after its initial 1-hour rise, refrigerate the dough for several hours, or for up to 24 hours. You can use the crust after its first 1-hour rise, but its flavor will improve with the longer, slower rise offered by refrigeration.

While the dough is rising, we’ll make the sauce.

Or not. Feel free to use bottled pizza or spaghetti sauce; your own recipe, or whatever you like. Bottom line, you’ll need about 28 to 30 ounces of sauce – just under 4 cups.

To make your own, start with canned (or boxed) tomatoes. Here’s a 28-ounce can on the left; a 26-ounce box on the right.
Canned crushed tomatoes on the left; aseptically boxed chopped tomatoes on the right. Your choice; I happen to like the chunkier boxed tomatoes, so that’s what I used.

Coarsely grate 1 small onion; you’ll have about 1/2 cup of onion. Sauté it in 1 tablespoon of butter.

When the onion is starting to brown, add 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed. Cook for about 30 seconds, and remove the pan from the stove.

Add the following:
1 teaspoon dried oregano; or 1 teaspoon Pizza Seasoning
4 teaspoons sugar, or to taste
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste*

*The amount will depend on the saltiness of the canned tomatoes. Under-salt a bit, as the sauce will cook down and the flavor intensify.

Simmer gently for up to 1 hour, to concentrate the flavors. This is what the sauce looked like after 30 minutes.

And here it is after 45 minutes – see how nicely it thickened?

While the sauce is simmering, fry up some mushrooms, if you like. This is 8 ounces of button mushrooms, each chopped in half.

I happen to like mushrooms in my pizza. If you don’t care for them – leave them out. Or substitute peppers. No Pizza Police here.

Sausage is traditional in Chicago stuffed pizza. You’ll need 1 pound of bulk sausage.

Don’t like sausage? Leave it out.  Want to make your own? Here’s how.

Mix together the following:
1 pound ground pork
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon fennel seed, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more for spicier sausage)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Refrigerate till ready to use.

OK, let’s start assembling this baby. Place the dough on a lightly greased work surface. A kneading/rolling mat works well here.

Divide the dough into two pieces. One should be about three-quarters of the dough; the other, one-quarter. If you have a scale, one piece should weigh about 36 ounces; the other, about 13 ounces.

Divide each piece of dough in half again. You’ll now have four pieces of dough: top and bottom crusts for two 9” stuffed pizzas.

Start with one of the larger pieces of dough.

Stretch, then roll the dough into a round large enough (about 15” to 16”) to line the bottom and sides of one pan, with some overhang.

You’ll be rolling the dough quite thin; it helps to cover it with some lightly greased parchment as you roll.

Roll one of the smaller pieces of dough into a circle about 9” in diameter.

Cover both pieces of dough, and go away for 15 minutes. Or use the time to roll out the other two pieces of dough. Either way, you want to let your rolled-out dough rest for 15 minutes; it relaxes the gluten, allowing you to handle the dough without it shrinking.

Butter the bottom and sides of two 9” x 2”-deep round cake pans, then drizzle olive oil in the bottom of each.

 Fold the larger piece of dough into quarters…
...and center it in the pan.

Take half the sausage, and pat it into an 8” round, to nestle into the crust. I found it works well to put it on an 8” parchment round…

…flatten it under another round of parchment…

…then pick the whole thing up and flop it into the crust, peeling off the parchment.

You’ll need 1 pound of sliced mozzarella, 8 ounces for each pizza. “Tile” (fan) the mozzarella into the crust, atop the sausage.

Add your fillings of choice. This pizza’s getting black olives and artichoke hearts. The other will get those mushrooms I fried earlier, plus a box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry.

Put the smaller piece of rolled-out dough atop the fillings.

Crimp together the top and bottom crusts.

It’s coming together nicely, eh? Cut slashes in the top, to allow steam to escape as the pizza bakes.

Repeat the whole process with the remaining dough and ingredients, making another 9” round pizza.

Cover the pizzas, and let them rest while you preheat your oven to 425°F, about 30 minutes.

Just before baking, top the pizzas with the sauce…
…and sprinkle with a total of 1 1/4 cups of freshly grated Parmesan, Romano, aged Asiago, or your favorite hard cheese grated cheese. Use half the cheese (a scant 2/3 cup) on each pizza.

See how the crust has started to puff?

Put the pizzas in the oven.  Bake till the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes.

Lucky we used a 2”-deep pan, eh?
I decided to add a garnish of pepperoni on top of one of the pizzas. TOTALLY over the top.

Remove the pizzas from the oven, and allow them to rest for about 15 minutes.

Loosen their edges…
…and gently turn them out of the pan onto a rack to cool.

To do this, place a round cooling rack atop one pan, and turn the whole thing over. Lift off the pan, place a rack on the bottom of the pizza, and turn the whole thing over again, so the pizza is now right side up.

Like this. One 3-pound pizza, coming up!

Use a pair of scissors or baker’s bench knife to cut wedges. Serve warm, with a fork.
Here’s a good view of the layers: crust, then sausage, mozzarella, spinach and mushrooms, crust, tomato sauce, and more cheese.

YOU CAN make this entire recipe into one enormous 6-pound pizza by baking it in a 14” deep-dish pizza pan.

Be my guest! I found it kind of hard to handle.

from: King Arthur’s Flour

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