Amy Casey Cooks: Authentic Stuffed Pizza

Chicago is famous for a few of my favorite foods. Chicago style hotdogs, pizza, and Italian beef sandwiches are always on the short list of foods to eat when I visit my childhood home in the Windy City suburbs. Pizza tops the all-time list of best foods in around the city and suburbs. Deep dish pizza, stuffed pizza, and thin crust all have a special place in my heart and stomach.

I remember enjoying more than a few slices of thin crust pizza at Barone’s in my hometown. Walking to grab a pie with friends after a high school football game was a favorite fall activity.

3 slices of stuffed pizza with melting cheese

I first experienced deep dish and stuffed pizzas in downtown Chicago. Luckily, pizzerias throughout the suburbs now offer these hefty pizza pies too. 

My fav was and still is stuffed pizza. Two buttery and cheesy crusts surround obscene amounts of mozzarella cheese and a dazzling array of fillings. I’m partial to sausage and mushroom tucked between the double crust pizza. The masterpiece is topped with a thin layer of lively tomato sauce and an extra sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.

making a pizza with tomato sauce, Italian sausage and mozzarella cheese

How to make stuffed pizza

The crust! This pizza crust is head and shoulders above any other pizza crust. It’s tender and crispy, buttery and cheesy, and rich and decadent. And best of all, It’s easy to make.

Use a standing mixer to do the heavy work for you as it is a stiff dough. Thankfully, it is easy to roll out. I love this stainless steel rolling pin. Place it in the refrigerator, and it will glide effortlessly over the dough. You will be done rolling out the double crusts in no time at all.

Unbaked pie

The cheese! A whopping pound of shredded mozzarella cheese fills the 14-inch pizza. Even though fresh mozzarella is delicious, skip using it in this pizza. Pick up a block of mozzarella cheese and shred it yourself. Not only does the cheese melt and taste better when freshly shredded, you can get in a pretty good arm workout if your shred by hand.

The extra pizza fillings! Sauteed Italian sausage and mushrooms are go to fillings in our family. But feel free to add your favorite ingredients. When adding vegetables such as onions, peppers or zucchini, saute them before adding them to the pizza. Raw veggies will become watery when cooked making your masterpiece soggy.

INGREDIENTS

– 1 package (1/4 ounce) rapid rise dry yeast

– 1 tablespoon sugar

– 2/3 cup warm water (between 110 – 115 degrees F)

– 1 tablespoon kosher salt

– 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

– 1 large egg

– 3 large egg yolks

– 1/2 cup salted butter, melted

– 1/4 cup dried minced onions

– 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

– cornmeal

– 1 pound block of mozzarella cheese, shredded

– 1/2 pound crumbled and cooked Italian sausage

– 2 cups homemade marinara or your favorite store bought pizza sauce

INSTRUCTIONS

To make the dough ~

Place the yeast, sugar, and warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. Let sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.

With the mixer on low, add the kosher salt and flour 1/2 cup at a time. Mix thoroughly. The dough will be dry and crumbly.

Add the whole egg, egg yolks, melted butter, minced onions, and Parmesan cheese and mix to combine. After the dough is combined, mix/knead on low for 8 minutes. Alternately, knead by hand for 8 minutes.

From the dough in a a disk. Place the dough in the same bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Let rise for 1 hour.

To assemble the pizza ~

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place a pizza stone on the middle rack.

Sprinkle a little cornmeal on the bottom of the deep dish pizza pan.

Divide the dough in half. One a very lightly floured surface, roll out 1 piece of the dough to a 16 inch circle. 

Lay the rolled out dough in the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle 3/4 of the shredded mozzarella on the dough making sure to not sprinkle the cheese on the outermost 1 inch of the dough.

Sprinkle the crumbled and cooked Italian sausage on top of the cheese.

Roll out the remaining piece of dough to a 16 inch circle. Lay the dough evenly over the bottom dough and fillings. Roll and crimp the edges to form the crust. (see photo in post)

Spread about 3/4 cup of the sauce on top of the pizza. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top of the pizza.

Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Start checking the pizza at 20 minutes. The crust will be golden brown and the cheese will be slightly charred in spots when the pizza is done.

Remove the pizza from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

Cut into wedges. Warm the marinara or pizza sauce and serve on the side for dipping.


Written by:

Amy Casey

@amycaseycooks

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