The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Chicago Stuffed Pizza

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

Stuffed pizza that takes you back to The Windy City. This is a Giordano’s clone that I worked on for months. The crust is flakey and biscuity (Is that a word? It is now!) and the sauce has a natural sweetness to it. Very filling and not on any diet list that I know of. It is worth every bite, though! Salute!

Ingredients

  • FOR THE DOUGH:
  • ¾ cups Hot Tap Water
  • 2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
  • ¾ teaspoons Sugar
  • 3-½ cups All-purpose Flour
  • ¾ teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • ¾ teaspoons Sugar
  • ¾ teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 12 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Warm Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, More Or Less As Needed To Grease Your Pizza Pan
  • FOR THE SAUCE:
  • 5 cups 6-in-1 All Purpose Ground Tomatoes In Heavy Puree (See Note)
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Crushed Fresh Garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons Penzy Spice Pizza Seasoning (See Note)
  • FOR THE PIZZA ASSEMBLY:
  • 12 ounces, weight Block Of Whole Milk Mozzarella Cheese, Grated (Or You Can Use A Combination Of Cheeses, See Note)
  • Toppings Of Choice, Or Just Use The Above Amount Of Cheese

Preparation

For the dough:

In a measuring cup, combine 3/4 cups of hot tap water, yeast and 3/4 teaspoon of sugar. Set aside to allow yeast to proof. You’ll see it get all foamy in about 5 minutes. While your yeast is proofing, prepare the rest of the dough.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, 3/4 teaspoons sugar and garlic powder. Mix together with a fork to distribute the ingredients. Add oil and combine the ingredients using the dough hook. Add water/yeast mixture. Mix with dough hook for 1 minute on low (I used speed 1). Stop to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix on speed 2 for 30 seconds. Add 1 tablespoon of warm water, then mix on speed 4 for 2 minutes. Add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough is not pulling away from the side of the bowl. DO NOT OVER MIX! It takes less than 5 minutes total mixing time for this crust, and that’s what gives it the wonderful biscuit texture!

Transfer dough to a glass or ceramic bowl and let it rise for 4 hours. (I put it in the oven and leave the door open. The light from the oven is enough heat for the rise!)

You can use the dough at this point (if you’re in a hurry), but you’ll get a much better texture and taste if you refrigerate it. Refrigerate the dough (covered with celephane wrap) for 24-48 hours.

When you are ready to make your pizza, remove dough from fridge and allow dough to come to room temperature (took about 2 hours for me). Weigh the dough. Separate approximately 1/3 of the dough for the top skin. You’ll use the rest for the bottom.

When you start to roll the dough, preheat your oven to 450 F. You want the oven really hot! If your baked goods tend to burn on the bottom, put a stone in the oven during the preheating and then you can put your pizza pan right on top of the stone.

Roll out the larger dough ball. You shouldn’t need any flour on the surface as this dough has a high oil content and doesn’t stick! Roll the dough very thin. You should have about a 15-16 inch circle.

Generously butter the bottom of your pizza pan, plus butter half way up the side of the pan. Place your crust in the bottom of the pan and “tuck” it into the bottom edges, with the crust coming up the sides and hanging over the top. It should drape over the edges at least 1 inch all the way around your pan.

For the sauce: (See the notes at the end about the ingredients).

In a large pot, combine the 6-in-1 tomatoes, sugar, salt, crushed garlic and pizza seasoning. I like to use an immersion blender to break up any tomato chunks, but you can whisk it together by hand, if you want! Don’t cook this. Just mix it up and set to the side!

Now, start assembling your pizza! Remember, this is stuffed, so there’s a reason for the order!

You already have your bottom crust in the pan. Now, put in your “toppings” one layer at a time. If you are using sausage, you want this in the bottom so that it’s closest to the heat. Don’t pre-cook the sausage! Place the sausage followed by other meats—pepperoni, Canadian bacon, etc. Then, place veggies on top of that. Follow the veggies with your cheese. Yes, the cheese goes on top of all of this! Don’t short change the cheese!

Now that you’ve built the stuffed part, roll out the remaining dough (this is the 1/3 that you put off to the side). You want to roll this out extremely thin. It should be almost transparent. Roll this out to be about 11″ around. Lay this top “skin” on top of the cheese and up so that it extends about 1″ all the way around your pizza pan. Pinch the two doughs (your bottom crust and top skin) all the way around the pan (around the top edge) to seal the crust. Using your finger, pull open about 8 holes in the top skin. No need to be fancy! I just use my finger and pull open some holes. This will release the steam and keep the top from bubbling. Double check the crust to make sure that it’s still sealed and that you didn’t pull it apart when you were poking holes!

Pour 2 large ladles of sauce on top of the crust and swirl it around to cover the crust. I know it sounds strange, but this kind of seals those top holes so that the sauce doesn’t run down into the pizza. After you’ve swirled, pour 2 more ladles of sauce on top to give it a nice top layer of sauce.

Use a sharp knife and trim the excess crust at the top outer edge of the pan.

Place in a 450 F oven for 30 minutes. If your oven heats from the bottom, use a stone under your pizza pan to keep it from burning on the bottom. I usually check it at 25 minutes to make sure the top edges of crust are not over cooking. If the top edges look like they are browning too fast, lay a piece of foil on top.

You want to bake until your crust is a golden brown. Remove the pizza from the oven and place it onto a cookie cooling rack. Let it sit for a minute or two and then cut into 6 or 8 slices and serve!

Toppings options are as follows (pick your own, but here are some suggestions). Don’t cook any of it in advance unless noted. Options: sweet Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, pepperoni, ground beef, olives (black or green), diced onions, spinach, pineapple chunks, diced green peppers, or whatever sounds good to you!

Notes about the ingredients:

6-in-1 Tomatoes in Heavy Puree is the sauce I use. It does not contain any citric acid at all and is pure sweet tomatoes. Bottom line … These are the very best and you can tell that with one little taste right out of the can! They are hard to find, though! You can purchase the #10 (huge) cans at Costco Business Center (not the regular Costco stores). Or, you can order them directly from Escalon.net. Shipping is reasonable and actually comes out to less per can than most stores!

Penzy Spice Pizza Seasoning: A very good mixture and the Penzy spices are amazing! Check online for a store near you that carries them, or you can order directly from them at Penzeys.com. But, this pizza seasoning mix is the perfect blend.

Cheese: You can get away with 10-12 ounces of whole milk mozzarella. I actually blend my cheese. I use about 5 ounces of whole milk mozzarella, 4 ounces of provolone and 3 ounces of skim (or low fat) mozzarella. I also grate it fresh as opposed to pre-grated (because they use preservatives in the pre-grated to keep it from sticking to itself, which keeps it from melting in a creamy consistancy). This is the minimum amount of cheese to use. I’ve used up to a pound before. It depends on how full your pizza is from the other ingredients.

The first pizza you take out from you pan will probably crack when you remove it (normally on the side). It’s because we try to be too careful when taking it out. Don’t worry. Make this a few times and you’ll be a pro at getting it out of the pan!

I took the extra sauce and warmed it on top of the stove while the pizza was baking for anyone who wanted some extra sauce on their pizza. Just a small ladle of warm sauce on top!

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