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Deep Dish Pizza + Quick and Easy Pizza Sauce

April 22, 2014

A Friday night tradition for many, including us, is pizza.  During Fall and Winter it's piled high with pepperoni, sausage or eggplant and mushrooms, peppers and onions.  A dab of sauce and shredded mozzarella rounds it out.  During the Spring and Summer we pile on fresh veggies, slices of homemade mozzarella and a dab of homemade sauce. 

This recipe is a bit different from the typical crust in that it includes milk.  Because it's deep-dish, you want a crispy bottom coupled with a soft chewy center.  Oil in the pan before adding the dough gives you the crispy bottom and milk in the dough gives the crust the soft and chewy quality.

Want to make a pepperoni pizza but dislike the grease pepperoni usually leaves?  An easy solution is to lay out the pepperoni in a single layer on a paper towel-lined plate {microwave safe} and microwave it for 10-15 seconds.  This will draw out most of the oil.  Add the microwaved pepperoni to the pizza when making it.

If you've tried homemade pizza dough in the past and it was, well, less than impressive, I encourage you to try either the regular pizza dough or this deep dish pizza dough found here.  Not only do they taste great, but you can make a batch or two ahead of time, pop them in a freezer-safe container or bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Then, the day you want to make pizza, defrost the dough in the refrigerator a few hours and you're ready to go.

Deep Dish Pizza Dough
source:  America's Test Kitchen
Makes enough dough for two 9-inch pizzas

2 1/4 - 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope {2 1/4 teaspoon} instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons warm skim milk {110 degrees Fahrenheit}

In a food processor {fitted with dough blade if you have it}, pulse together the 2 1/4 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt.  With the machine running, pour 2 Tablespoons of the oil through the feed tube and then the milk and allow to run until a rough ball forms, 30-40 seconds.  Let the dough rest 2 minutes, then process 30 seconds longer.  If the dough is still sticky add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time as needed.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and form it into a round, smooth ball.  Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with greased plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  {If you'll be freezing it, divide the dough in half and freeze it after this rise}

Coat two 9-inch cake pans with 3 Tablespoons olive oil each and set aside.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, divide into 2 equal pieces, covering one with the plastic wrap and working with the other.  Roll and stretch the dough into a 9-inch round with a thick edge.  Press the dough into a cake pan.  Work with the second piece of dough and put into the other prepared pan in the same way.  Cover the pans with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until puffy, 30-45 minutes.

When ready to bake:  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spread about 2/3 cup of pizza sauce onto each pizza dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge, and add cheese, veggies and meat as desired.  Bake until cheese is melted and the edges of the dough are browned, about 20 minutes.  Allow pizza to cool in their pans for about 1 minute then remove with a wide spatula, slice and serve.

Quick and Easy Pizza Sauce
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning
1 {28-ounce} can crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the oil, garlic and Italian seasoning together in a saucepan over medium heat until sizzling and fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in the tomatoes and simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Sauce can be made ahead of time and refrigerated in a covered container for up to 4 days.

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