I made this pizza on Sunday to eat while watching what my husband and I hoped – and turned out to be – the final game of the World Series. My hubby is a San Francisco Bay Area boy – born and raised in the East Bay – so we were quite happy to see the Giants sweep the Series (although the Tigers made them earn that last win). What better way to enjoy the all-American pastime than with a dish that has become so much a part of American cuisine.
My particular pizza is of the Chicago deep dish variety and baked to decadent perfection in my “Monster” cast iron skillet. This recipe is a little labor-intensive – the homemade dough needs to proof for about an hour – but it scores a grand slam in flavor and heartiness.
If you don’t have a “Monster” skillet, try baking this in a deep dish pizza pan or rectangular baking dish.
1 tsp. Sugar
1 package Dry Yeast
1 cup Warm Water (100 degrees to 110 degrees)
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
3 Sweet Italian Sausages
3/4 lb. Lean Ground Hamburger
1 cup chopped Red Onion
1 (8 oz.) package Sliced Mushrooms
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste or Ketchup
1 tsp. dried Oregano
1/4 tsp. Fennel Seeds, crushed
2 (8 oz.) cans Tomato Sauce
1 Tbsp. Cornmeal
8 oz. shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan Cheese or Pecorino Romano Cheese
To prepare the dough, combine the yeast and sugar in a large bowl
and dissolve in the warm water. Let it stand for 10 minutes.
Add 1 cup of flour and the salt to the yeast mixture.
Whisk together until combined.
Add 1 3/4 cups of flour and combine until a dough forms.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes. Use the remaining 1/4 cup of flour to add to the dough when it sticks to your hands.
A nice elastic ball of dough should form.
Coat a bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside, coating its surface with the oil.
Cover the bowl and place it in a warm, draft-free area so the dough may rise to twice its size. This will take between 45 minutes to an hour.
Meanwhile, prepare your pizza toppings. Brown the ground beef and onion in a skillet.
Once the beef is browned, remove it and any grease from the skillet.
Next, sear the Italian sausage for about 5 minutes, turning so each side is browned.
Remove the sausage from the skillet once browned. The sausage should not be cooked completely through – it can be fairly pink inside. It will cook through when the pizza bakes. Once the sausage is cool enough to handle, slice into bite-size disks.
Add a few teaspoons of olive oil to the skillet and saute the mushrooms and red pepper for about 5 minutes.
Once the shrooms and peppers are soft, remove from the skillet.
On to the pizza sauce. Add the garlic to the hot skillet and cook for 30 seconds until it begins to brown. Next add the tomato paste or ketchup and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Add the fennel seeds and oregano…
and the tomato sauce.
Simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
Time for the seventh inning stretch…let’s put this pizza together! Coat a 12-inch cast iron skillet with oil and sprinkle the cornmeal over the bottom.
Once the pizza dough has risen, punch it down and let it sit for another 5 minutes. Pizza, like baseball, is a game of patience.
Spread the pizza dough over the bottom and up the sides of the skillet.
Combine the two cheeses in a bowl. Cover the dough with half of the cheese mixture. Yes, cheese on the bottom of the pizza.
Next, add the hamburger and onion mixture.
Then the mushrooms and peppers.
The pizza sauce.
The Italian sausage – yes, it is rare in the center and will cook completely while baking in the oven. Trust me!
Finally, sprinkle the remainder of the cheese mixture over the pizza.
Bake in a 375-degree oven for 40 minutes until the crust browns and the topping bubbles. Let the pizza stand for 10 minutes before serving. Bases loaded, home run, grand slam pizza. Enjoy!