Vegan Deep Dish take 2

I was still looking for a deep dish pizza that is closer to the style I love when I happened upon this recipe from http://www.veganappetite.com/2011/10/contest-and-chicago-style-deep-dish.html This pizza crust with the cornmeal dusting is much closer to the pizza at Pi. I cannot wait to make this crust and sauce. I will let you know how it turns out.

Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

The story goes that deep-dish pizza was invented in the early 1940’s at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago. It caught on quickly and is still offered in pizza shops today. For Chicago pizza, the cheese is placed directly on the crust, with the sauce and toppings on top of the cheese. This works well with vegan cheeses that can sometimes be slow to melt.

Dough:

3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon agave nectar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
Cornmeal, for dusting

Sauce:

1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch fennel seeds
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch black pepper

Toppings:

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 1/2 ounces spicy vegan sausage links, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
1 cup shredded vegan mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons vegan Parmesan
1 cup tightly packed chopped fresh baby spinach

1. Dough: In a small bowl, combine the warm water, agave nectar and baking yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the yeast bubbles. In a large bowl, combine the flours and salt. Stir together. Add the yeast mixture and olive oil. Mix well to form a cohesive dough. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead about 5 minutes, adding flour as needed. Dough will remain tacky, but shouldn’t be sticky. Shape into a ball. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning so that the top is coated with oil. Cover with a clean towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

2. Sauce: Drain the tomatoes in a colander for 10 minutes, gently squeezing them to break them up. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the remaining sauce ingredients, and set aside.

3. Toppings: Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and the red pepper flakes. Cook 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant and the sausage has lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the mushrooms to the same skillet, and cook over medium heat, stirring until they release their juice, about 4 minutes. Cook until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are nearly dry. Set aside.

4. Assembly: Preheat the oven to 500 F. Generously oil the bottom and sides of a 10-inch cast iron skillet with olive oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Place the rack at the lowest level in the oven. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 14-inch circle. Gently transfer the dough to the skillet, pressing it up the sides. Let the dough rest 15 minutes.

5. Spread the mozzarella evenly on the crust, then top with the reserved sausage and mushrooms, and other toppings, if using. Spread the tomato sauce on top, then sprinkle with the oregano and parmesan.

6. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven. Spread the spinach evenly on top of the pizza and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Return the pizza to the oven and reduce the temperature to 400 . Bake 5 to 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Let the pizza stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Recipe reprinted from American Vegan Kitchen (Vegan Heritage Press, 2010), copyright Tamasin Noyes.

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