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If your family is like my family, pizza is a regular in the menu rotation. Sometimes it’s convenience food, picked up on the way home from dance class or running errands, and sometimes it’s a special treat, hot from the oven at home. It really doesn’t seem to matter how it’s made; pizza is always welcome, and with all of the varieties of pizza styles and toppings, it never gets old.


This pizza recipe takes a little bit longer to prepare, but the results are worth the effort. It has the deep crusty dough and buried cheese of a traditional Chicago-style pizza. In a Chicago-style pizza, if you’re not familiar, the cheese is placed on top of the dough and under the sauce. Odd? Maybe a little. But delicious, regardless. And it is hearty, just what you need for a meatless Friday. Just pair it with a tossed salad, and dinner is served.

I have included the recipe for a traditional Chicago-style sauce, but you can certainly use your favorite pizza sauce in place of it.

Chicago-Style Pizza

makes 2 pizzas


3¼ c. all purpose flour
½ c. yellow cornmeal
1½ t. salt
1 T. sugar
2¼ t. instant yeast
1¼ c. water, slightly warm
3 T. butter, melted
4 T. butter, softened
olive oil for the bowl and pans


2 T. butter
¼ c. grated onion
½ t. dried oregano
½ t. salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1-2 T. sugar (or more to taste)
2 - 3 T. coarsely chopped fresh basil
1 T. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese

Make the Dough: Mix together the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Add water and melted butter and mix on low speed, using a dough hook,* 1 to 2 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl occasionally. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, 4 to 5 minutes. (*You can easily make this by hand, mixing in the water and butter with a spatula and then kneading by hand.)

Coat a large bowl with about 1 teaspoon olive oil. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat the dough in oil; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in volume, about 60 minutes.

Make the Sauce: While dough rises, heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and simmer until reduced to about 2½ cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from stove and stir in the basil and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. adding more sugar if sauce is too acidic.


Prepare the Dough: Turn the dough out onto dry work surface and roll into a 15×12-inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter over the surface of the dough, leaving a ½-inch border along the edges. Starting at the short end, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. With seam side down, flatten the cylinder into an 18×4-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half crosswise. Working with one half, fold into thirds like a business letter; pinch seams together to form ball. Repeat with remaining half. Return balls to oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in refrigerator until nearly doubled in volume, 40 to 50 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower position and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Prepare to bake the Pizzas: Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each. Transfer 1 dough ball to dry work surface and roll out into a 13-inch circle. Transfer dough to the pan by rolling the dough loosely around a rolling pin and unrolling into pan. Lightly press dough into pan, working into corners and 1 inch up sides. If dough resists stretching, let it relax for 5 minutes before trying again. Repeat with remaining dough ball.

For each pizza, sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella evenly over surface of dough. Spread 1¼ cups tomato sauce over the cheese (or toppings) and sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over sauce.

Bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Copyright 2014 Barbara Stein