Lighter Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

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How many of you have heard of tried Chicago-style deep dish pizza? The pie with its classic tall buttery crust, similar in appearance to a tart shell lovingly embraces within its boundaries copious amounts of cheese, sauce and toppings of your choice. For a person with a normal appetite, one slice is all it will take to satisfy your hunger. Anything beyond that is pure indulgence on cheesy, buttery, flaky, chewy goodness.

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Although a fully loaded cheesy pizza with all the trimmings can be delicious, I am discovering that a homemade crust topped with lighter cheeses and healthier toppings are far more superior in taste and nutrition than what you can get at a restaurant. I especially enjoy making crusts with varying combination of spices/herbs etc. and amping up the nutrition value by lowering the cheese and increasing the amount of veggies. In order to stick with healthier options, for a meaty pizza, I prefer small amount of cooked crumbled bacon or diced up grilled chicken breast.

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This pizza however has just sliced vegetables – I would have used more but had to do with what I had on hand that was topping appropriate.

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This is the first time I ever tried making Chicago-style deep dish and I am delighted to say that my kids who can be harsh critics (even though they will eat whatever I make) enjoyed every bite of it. Fresh mozzarella used melts beautifully leaving a nice cheesy curtain when you lift a slice to serve. The crust, molded in a tart pan crisps up nicely on the outside while remaining chewing and soft on the inside. It also holds the toppings well without getting soggy. I did modify the crust recipe a little bit by adding a teaspoon of garlic powder and 1 teaspoon each of crushed dried parsley, basil and oregano. All in all, another successful pilot attempt in my kitchen.

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Lighter Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

Ingredients
1 recipe dough
4 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/8″ slices
1/2 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups of sliced vegetables of your choice (I used red peppers, tomato and red onions)
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. After the dough has proofed, punch it down. Grease a large tart shell with removable bottom (or similar pan with at least 1 1/2″ tall sides) lightly with nonstick cooking spray (or oil).
3. Pat the dough down on the pan and stretch lightly to cover the bottom and the sides completely.
4. Prick the sides with a fork and layer the bottom with fresh and grated mozzarella.
5. Bake for about 7 minutes till the fresh mozzarella begins to melt. Remove from oven and spread your favorite sauce (I used heart healthy bottled sauce).
6. Top with your favorite toppings. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and drizzle the olive oil all over.
7. Return to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes till vegetables are cooked and crust is golden.
8. Serve immediately.

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