Deep. Dish. Pizza.

Let me tell you about the world’s greatest pizza. This little town in Illinois came up with it. It might be their only claim to fame. (Might be.)

Here at Dad Loves Dessert, we’ve been training for a long hike we have planned on our next vacation. 19.4 kilometers (just over 12 miles). When you spend most of the daylight hours in your Sunday hiking up and down mountains for practice, you convince yourself that you deserve a treat. A carrot at the end of the hike, if you will.

But WAY less healthy.

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Okay, so I wasn’t just hiking for the pizza.

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Well. Mostly for the pizza.

This pizza was so good, I’ve run out of other things to say.

Making it was not any harder than making a regular pizza, though it does take longer. The dough does have to rise (unlike my tricksy no-rise pizza recipes), and it takes about 45 minutes to bake.

But it is SO worth it.

I used my KitchenAid with the dough hook for this recipe. The crust includes softened butter, which is just easier to knead in with a machine.

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Once the dough starts coming together, I tossed the butter into the mixer and let it knead everything together for 10ish minutes.

Conveniently, this gave me the opportunity to prep the fillings – browning spicy turkey sausage (you know, healthy choices), making the tomato sauce, shredding the mozzarella.

Once the dough came together – it’s a sticky dough – I set it aside to rise for about an hour.

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Once this little ball is about twice the size, you’re ready to go.

Punch that dough down and get ready to stretch it.

Since this is a deep dish, you need, you know, a deep dish in which to cook it. I used my cast iron skillet, and it worked wonderfully. Coat that bad boy in olive oil and start stretching the dough in the skillet.

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When you have the dough about coating the bottom of the pan, stop. Cover it and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Then you can continue to stretch it up the sides of the pan.

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It may not stay up completely, but that’s okay. When you start to layer in the filling, it will stay up just fine.

Now, the filling part is important. It’s just not a Chicago deep dish unless you layer cheese, meat, sauce. No other combinations of that order will be accepted. Cheese first, meat next, chunky tomato sauce on top.

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Sprinkle some red pepper flakes on there and you’re golden.

Bake this at 375 for 45 minutes, or until the crust is browned.

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A thing of beauty.

Let it rest for 10 minutes or as long as you can hold out. I did not make it 10 minutes. Top with grated parmesan cheese, slice it up and serve.

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And yes, I served it with a salad. Remember how this is a healthy meal?

Deep Dish Pizza

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