Chicago Deep Dish

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

It’s probably no secret that pizza is one of our family’s favorite foods. Ordering a pizza on Friday night was our routine for literally years when we were first married. Both of my sons worked for a time in our favorite pizza joint where we used to live. We still enjoy a good restaurant pie from time to time, whether thin and crackly crust, thick and chewy or Chicago style deep dish.

We’ve also always made our own pizzas at home, first using store-bought crusts, then eventually making them from scratch. Finding the dough recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day made a huge difference in the quality of our home-made pizzas.

In addition to baking pizza on the grill we love this version of deep dish, and have been making it for the better part of a decade now. It draws on a recipe from Lou Malati’s in Chicago.

I start by prepping a ball of one-quarter of the dough from a batch of the AB5 recipe linked above. My iron skillet gets a liberal spray of olive oil, and then a good dusting of corn meal before the dough is spread out in the bottom. I press it down and out until it comes up the side of the pan about a quarter to half an inch.

Then comes a layer of Provolone slices to cover the bottom. After that, the rest of the toppings go on in repeating layers – shredded spinach, sliced mushrooms, shredded Mozzarella, canned diced tomatoes with herbs and garlic. Then finally it gets topped with some grated Parm or Romano, and maybe a tiny grind of black pepper and some coarse salt. About 30 to 40 minutes in a 425 °F oven, and it’s ready.

We’ve added other ingredients in the past, black olives, sausage, pepperoni or what have you. But this simple combination of spinach, mushrooms, cheese and tomatoes is my favorite. The bright tartness of the tomatoes is a perfect counterpoint to the earthy, savory veggies and cheese. It’s hearty, satisfying and the first bite literally makes my mouth water.

With the dough made ahead of time, this meal is not terribly labor intensive either. I think it took me about fifteen minutes to put together, and then maybe another five to assemble green salads on the side while the pie was cooling after it came out of the oven. Quick and delicious is always welcome on a Friday evening after a long work week.

This is another dish that I’d encourage you to try. It could hardly be simpler to prepare, and I guarantee that it’ll hit the spot. If you’re hesitant to make your own dough from scratch, you shouldn’t be, but you could probably use a boxed dough mix, or even buy a ball or two from your favorite local pizzeria if you’re on good terms with them.

Buon appetito!

Grilled Pizza

Sunday Dinner – 15 July 2018

This week we made pizza for Sunday Dinner. We finally have the process pretty well down.

I made a quick, no cook sauce from two cans of tomato sauce, one can of tomato paste, some oregano, basil, garlic, sugar, paprika, salt and pepper. We followed our usual process otherwise, as described in these earlier posts.

Easy Foolproof Grilled Pizza

How to Make Pizza on the Grill

After I par cooked the crusts, Claudia topped one with three cheese blend, another with veggies and another with fresh basil and mozzarella. Then they went back out to the plancha on the Weber Genesis to finish.

The crust this time was the best yet – a perfect combination of crunchy on the outside with a little dense chew inside.

Eggplant Parm for Sunday Dinner

June 24th, 2018

plated-eggplant-parmigiana

We revisited one of our favorite dishes, Grilled Eggplant Parmigiana, this week. This is a family favorite that we enjoy several times a year. In fact, it’s our daughter’s favorite meal – the one she requests for her birthday.

We had lemons that needed to be used, so Claudia began early in the day baking a lemon cake from scratch, and making lemon curd. She’d gotten blueberries, blackberries and raspberries to go on top, and her mom did a beautiful job arranging them.

Aunt Pat was here early and took on the tedious task of prepping brussels sprouts. She separated each leaf for roasting on a sheet pan with olive oil, salt and pepper. A little grated Parm on top, and they made a crunchy addition to the antipasti. Claudia also prepared a cheese and charcuterie platter, some olives and marinated artichokes.

It took a little while to get the plancha cleaned up for the Weber Genesis, but once it was clean and hot, the eggplant slices only took about twenty minutes for each batch to cook.

eggplant-on-the-grill

Then the pans of the finished dish went back out for another twenty minutes until they were nice and bubbly. In the meantime, Claudia fixed another fresh, vibrant salad with her famous Wulff Family Dressing.

Claudia also boiled the pasta, something I would have forgotten altogether. The final element was garlic bread, again, baked on the plancha. We served a big bottle of Bolla Valpolicella with the meal. It’s one of our favorite table wines, especially with Italian fare, and we don’t really drink it often enough.

This is one of the heartiest dishes I’ve ever tasted. Leave out the coppa and prosciutto from the antipasto platter, and this meal would have been entirely meatless as well. This would be on my short list for last meal at the end of the road.