Monday, August 17, 2009

Chicago Style Stuffed Vegetable Pizza

Chicago is a great place to eat pizza. There are a bunch of really good pizza places that serve just about every type of pizza that you can imagine--thin crust, thick crust, New York, pan pizza; and the Chicago invention--the stuffed pizza.

I grew-up eating stuffed pizza so it's not really a novelty for me, but I know that many people have not had the opportunity to try it. Stuffed pizza is double crusted, rather like a pie. There is the bottom crust, the filling, the top crust, and on the very top--the sauce. It's baked in a very deep pan and has a long cooking time. The crust is more tender than typical pizza crust, and the dough is very easy to work with and roll out.

I made a stuffed pizza last week, but I am just getting around to posting it now. I'll give you the basic recipe, and note the changes I made. There are many steps, but it's not complicated, and you can prepare the filling and sauce ahead of time.

Stuffed Vegetable Pizza
(from The Great Chicago-Style Pizza Cookbook by Pasquale Bruno, Jr)

3-1/4 cups bread flour
3 teaspoons sugar
2 packages dry yeast
3 teaspoons salt
1-1/4 cups warm water, not more than 115° F
4 tablespoons vegetable oil

42 ounces canned tomatoes - crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil or fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove crushed garlic
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

8 ounces grated mozzarella cheese1 small zucchini, sliced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small eggplant, peeled and chopped

1. DOUGH: Mix the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in the large mixing bowl. Make a well in the flour and add the warm water and oil. Mix and knead thoroughly until the dough clings together and cleans the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and soft. Dust with additional flour if the dough is sticking to your hands. Spread some flour in another large mixing bowl and lay the dough in the bottom, turning it over so that the entire surface is coated with a light layer of flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Set the bowl in a warm place to rise for about 90 minutes, until doubled.

2. SAUCE: While the dough is rising, combine all of the sauce ingredients in the 2-quart bowl and stir. Set aside.

3. STUFFING: Sauté the vegetables in a small amount of olive oil in a large fry pan just until they begin to soften. Cool, and then mix with the cheese.

ASSEMBLE: Preheat the oven to 450° F. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a work surface. Knead for about 1 minute. Divide the dough into two pieces, about 1/3 and 2/3 of the dough. Roll out the larger piece in a large circle until it is about 3 inches larger than the pan and 1/8 inch thick. Oil the bottom and sides of the pan. Place the dough into the pan and push it into the bottom and sides. The dough should overlap the pan by about 1 inch. Trim the excess dough with a knife, and set the pan aside. Roll out the second piece until it is about the same size as the pan. Put the filling into the pizza pan. Lay the second piece of dough on top, and then crimp the two edges of the dough together with your fingers to form a thick border. Press down on the filling with your hand, and cut a 1-inch slit in the center of the top crust to allow steam to escape. Spread the tomato sauce evenly over the top crust and sprinkle with more grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake: Place the pizza pan on the lowest rack for 10 minutes, and then move it to the middle rack for 25-30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Transfer from the pan to a large wooden cutting board and let it stand for a few minutes before cutting.

My changes:
I used King Arthur's version of "00" flour for the dough. I love 00 flour and try to use it whenever I make pizza; I find that the dough is easier to work with and more tender.

I used much less sauce on top--less than 1 28-ounce can of tomatoes. My filling was very moist, and I don't like lots of sauce on any pizza.

For the filling I just used what I had on hand. I roasted bell peppers, onions, mini-eggplants, mushrooms and Italian peppers. I used a mixture of mozzarella, cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. I probably used 16 ounces of cheese in total.

This recipe works best in a deep, 12-inch pizza pan. I had to make do with a large springform pan which was not the best choice because the bottom of the pizza wasn't as browned as I like. I am going to buy the proper size pan for the next time I make this. Dave and I loved it so much I think it will be a regular feature for dinner.


  1. Oh my goodness - that looks amazing! I would love to try that - in fact, I think I will this week!!

  2. That looks delicious!! I have never made deep dish pizza but this inspires me to try. Yum!!

  3. Hi Michele, I make a lot of pizza, but have never done one like this. I am putting this on my list of things to make and we will be having this for dinner one day, very soon. Thanks for all the great pictures and the "oo" flour information...I have never even heard of this!!
    Peace, Stephanie

  4. This pizza looks SO good. I love deep dish pizza, but I've never owned the proper pan. Like you, I plan to buy one, because I could eat deep dish pizza every week. I also didn't realize that King Arthur sold OO flour. Great to know!

  5. Wow Michele,
    I am so going to make this! That pizza is true comfort eating. It also looks like something my brothers would fight over. I have never made it or even eaten a Chicago style pizza, so look forward to attempting this at some point in the future. Thank you for sharing the step bu step photos. They are really helpful.

  6. I can't wait for Josh to get home so I can try to make this for him! Michele it looks so amazing-

  7. Holy Cow!! I need to save this one to try out once we lose some of the heat and humidity around here!! Looks astounding.

  8. This looks fantastic!! I bet this is a huge hit whenever you serve it!

  9. This looks yummy!! i can't wait for it!!

  10. I am so inspired by your deep-dish pizza, Michele, that I am running out the door to find a deep-dish pizza pan to make it in. Yours looks delicious!
    Good luck with your surgery - I hope you will be back on your feet before too long. I'll send good vibes your way. :-)

  11. I have been wondering how to make deep dish pizza like that! Thank you, your recipe has been so helpful.

  12. That looks like quite a pizza, so yummy! I've never tried to make deep-dish pizza, thanks for the thorough instructions.

  13. Now!! THAT's a pizza. I haven't seen one of those before, but I think you mite see one in my kitchen REAL soon. Fantastic.

    Thanks for this one.

  14. This looks so good! I've had deep dish Chicago pizza, but not a stuffed pizza.

  15. Wow! Your pizza look so delicious!
    I have never made a Chicago style pizza, I will try yours for sure!

  16. Wow your Chicago style pizza looks fantastic and so authentic. I'm longing to give it a go

  17. Ooh...that looks delicious. I've never made a stuffed pizza before. I'll need to try it!

  18. Looks fabulous! I love the Chicago style pizza, but have never attempted making it. You give me inspiration. Just wanted to say your Foodieview menu this week looks really tasty.

  19. I have never had Chicago style pizza and I never thought to just make it at home! Yours looks so absolutely amazing!

  20. Thank you for all the wonderful comments!

  21. That looks quite amazing! I'm going to give it a try...