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For the Dough:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110°F or 45°C)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

For the Filling:

  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, removed from casing and crumbled
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Making the Dough:

  1. Activate the Yeast: In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes, until it becomes frothy. This indicates that the yeast is active.
  2. Mix the Dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Add the yeast mixture and olive oil. Mix with a wooden spoon or a dough hook if using a stand mixer until the dough begins to come together.
  3. Knead the Dough: Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for about 5-7 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. If using a stand mixer, knead on medium speed for the same amount of time.
  4. Let it Rise: Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning it to coat all sides with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until it has doubled in size.

Preparing the Sauce:

  1. Cook the Garlic: In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant but not browned.
  2. Make the Sauce: Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine. Simmer the sauce for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Preparing the Filling:

  1. Cook the Sausage: In a skillet over medium heat, cook the crumbled Italian sausage until browned and cooked through. Use a spatula to break the sausage into small pieces as it cooks. Remove the cooked sausage from the skillet and drain on paper towels.
  2. Sauté the Vegetables: In the same skillet, add a little olive oil if needed and sauté the diced bell pepper, onion, and sliced mushrooms until tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Assembling the Pizza:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. Roll the Dough: On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a large circle, about 1/4-inch thick, making sure it is large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 12-inch deep dish pizza pan or a cast iron skillet.
  3. Fit the Dough into the Pan: Carefully transfer the dough to the pan, pressing it into the bottom and up the sides. Trim any excess dough hanging over the edges.
  4. Layer the Cheese: Line the bottom of the dough with the sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese, covering it completely. The cheese layer helps protect the crust from getting soggy from the toppings.
  5. Add the Sausage and Vegetables: Spread the cooked sausage evenly over the cheese layer. Follow with an even layer of the sautéed vegetables.
  6. Add the Sauce: Pour the prepared tomato sauce over the top of the fillings, spreading it out evenly with a spoon or spatula.
  7. Top with Parmesan: Sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese over the top of the sauce.

Baking the Pizza:

  1. Bake: Place the pizza in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
  2. Cool and Serve: Remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool in the pan for a few minutes before slicing and serving. This helps the filling set and makes it easier to cut clean slices.

Enjoy your homemade Chicago-style deep dish pizza!

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