Macheesmo

Confident home cooking
The dough on this pizza is amazing.
Main Dishes, Stuffing Stuff, Vegetarian

Olive and Ricotta Deep Dish Pizza

by Nick

Let’s talk about pizza. I’m a serious pizza lover, but I must say that I rarely opt for the Chicago deep dish variety. Normally these are just really doughy and too heavy and filling. I’ve had some good deep dish in Chicago, and I like that, but 99% of the deep dishes I’ve had elsewhere I find to be pretty miserable.

This recipe was seriously a game changer for me. This deep dish pizza was the first thing I’ve made out of my new Cook’s Illustrated subscription and they hit this one out of the freakin’ galaxy. The toppings are perfect, the crust is flaky, and the whole deal is just scrumptious.

When you think about it, even if you are making this from scratch, it’s really only a few steps! Make the crust. Make the sauce. Grate some cheese. Bake the pizza!

How hard could that be? As you can imagine, the devil is in the details as they say.

The one thing I would not recommend skipping for this recipe is the crust. It really makes it happen. If you had to save time, you could buy jarred sauce I guess.

Yield
2 pizzas.
Prep Time
Total Time
Print Recipe

Deep Dish Pizza with Ricotta and Olives

Deep Dish Pizza with Ricotta and Olives

Ingredients

  • Dough:
  • 3 1/4 Cups (16.25 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup (2.75 ounces) semolina flour (original recipe uses yellow cornmeal)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons salt
  • 2 Teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 Teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 Cups water (10 ounces), at room temperature
  • 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, (3 melted, 4 softened)
  • 1 Teaspoon olive oil for bread
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil for baking pans
  • Sauce:
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, grated in grater
  • 1/2 Teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (my addition)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 Teaspoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • Toppings: (Remember this is enough for 2 pizzas)
  • 1 pound whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 Cup kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (I really like olives. Original recipe is half this much.)
  • 1/2 Cup ricotta cheese (same as olives)
  • 1/2 Cup chopped arugula (optional. I left this out.)

Helpful Equipment

  • Cake Pan (If you have a real deep dish pan you can use it, but this recipe is written for just a 9 inch normal cake pan.)

Directions

1) Add all dry ingredients to a bowl and mix well, then slowly add water and melted butter until the dough ball comes together. Knead this for 8-10 minutes until the dough is glossy and smooth.

2) In a mixer, beat dough for 5-6 minutes with the dough hook on medium.

3) Let ball of dough rise in a lightly oiled bowl for about an hour or until it doubles in size.

4) Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out to roughly a 16 by 12 rectangle.

5) Spread on softened butter leaving about 1/2 inch around the edges of the dough.

6) Roll up the dough like a cigar. Cut the dough roll in half. For each half fold into thirds. Pinch the seams around the dough to form a ball.

7) Let dough rise a second time in your fridge for 60 minutes.

8) For sauce, melt butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Then add onions (grated with a box grater, not chopped) along with dried spices and pinch of salt. Let cook for a few minutes until the onions are slightly browned.

9) Add garlic, tomatoes (including juice), and sugar. Bring to simmer and let it reduce for 25 minutes or so on low heat. Once it is reduced, stir in chopped basil and olive oil and ground pepper. Set aside to cool.

10) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

11) Roll dough ball into about a 15 inch diameter circle.

12) Add 2 Tablespoons of oil to cake pan and then add pizza crust. Mush the dough into all the corners of the pan and crimp it around the edges.

13) Add about two cups of shredded mozzarella cheese to the bottom, followed by 1.5 cups (or about half) of your marinara sauce. Add a thin layer of grated Parmesan and dot the top with olives and ricotta cheese.

14) Bake 425 for about 30 minutes. Let this cool for 5 minutes before chopping into it!

Adapted from a Cook's Illustrated recipe.


Kind of looks like a lot of ingredients, but the dough ingredients are pretty basic and I had most of the sauce ingredients on hand also.

The basics.

The basics.

Making the dough

Deep dish pizza dough has a reputation of being very bready. And not in a good way. This recipe takes a page out of the laminated doughs department (think pastry and croissant!) to produce a good dough that can hold all the toppings, but also is very flaky.

To make the dough, add all your dry ingredients to a bowl and mix well, then slowly add your water and melted butter until the dough ball comes together. Knead this for 8-10 minutes until the dough is glossy and smooth.

Now allow me a minute to gush I We got our first wedding gift this last weekend from Betsy’s mom, a KitchenAid stand mixer! I put it to work immediately for this recipe!

My precious!

My precious!

Beat it for 5-6 minutes with the dough hook on medium and the dough was perfect!

Next let your ball of dough rise in an lightly oiled bowl (that’s what the 1 Teaspoon of oil is for in the recipe) for about an hour or until it doubles in size.

Laminating the dough

This is an amazing technique. I was a bit skeptical that it would work, but it worked perfectly.

Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out to roughly a 16 by 12 rectangle. Then spread on your softened butter leaving about 1/2 inch around the edges of the dough. Roll up the dough like a cigar!

Then cut the dough roll in half. For each half fold into thirds (think of a business letter – lower left photo). Then pinch the seams around the dough to form a ball. If you wanted you could freeze your dough at this point for future use or return them to your lightly oiled bowl to rise again.

I froze one and used one. For the dough you are using, let it rise a second time in your fridge for 60 minutes. This will get the butter cold which will make the final crust even flakier!

Get it?

Get it?

Making the Marinara

This is a pretty standard marinara. The one trick they used is to grate the onion using a box grater. This was much harder (and produced many more tears) than just mincing the onion normally. I see their point though. It did make the onion almost melt into the sauce and gave it a great consistency.

To start, melt your butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Then add your onions along with your dried spices and pinch of salt. Let that cook for a few minutes until the onions are slightly browned. Then add your garlic, tomatoes (including juice), and sugar. Bring that to simmer and let it reduce for 25 minutes or so on low heat.

Once it is reduced, stir in your chopped basil and olive oil and ground pepper. Set aside to cool!

Very good sauce!

Very good sauce!

Making the Pizza!

Get all your toppings ready and preheat your oven to 425 degrees. No need for a pizza stone for this recipe! Then pull your dough ball out of the fridge. Roll it into about a 15 inch diameter circle. Mine was really easy to work with actually.

Add 2 Tablespoons of oil to your cake pan and then add your pizza crust. The oil is really important. It lightly fries the crust which produces a crispy layer on the outside while keeping the inside moist and flaky.

Mush the dough into all the corners of the pan and crimp it around the edges. It’s okay if it isn’t perfect.

Then add about two cups of shredded mozzarella cheese to the bottom, followed by 1.5 cups (or about half) of your marinara sauce. Then add a thin layer of grated Parmesan and dot the top with olives and ricotta cheese.

This part is easy.

This part is easy.

Bake this guy at 425 for about 30 minutes. The crust should be golden brown around the edges and the cheese should be melted.

It’ll be hard, but let this cool for 5 minutes before chopping into it!

Chicago. You are onto something. I admit it.

Chicago. You are onto something. I admit it.

The first piece is kind of hard to get out, but man was this a good piece of pizza. Honestly, I had pretty low expectations and they were completely blown away.

I almost just ate it straight out of the pan.

I almost just ate it straight out of the pan.

I still think I might prefer the thin crust variety of pizza over this, but this version at least reminded me how it’s possible to like deep dish pizza.

It put deep dish pizza back in the mix of awesome possibilities. And that’s all you can ever really ask from a recipe!