July 17, 2013

Deep Dish Spinach Pizza (and Cook's Favorite Deep Dish Dough)

I've probably tried a dozen or so recipes in my quest for the perfect pizza dough!  I have a favorite thin crust recipe on here that still remains photo-less.  It's really good, but truth be told, it was gone before I could snap a picture!  It's been quite some time since I've made it, because I've been trying to find a great deep dish recipe.  I know, how hard can it be? - water, flour, olive oil, salt, yeast.........but each attempt seemed to yield such a heavy crust.  So I was thrilled when I made this recently for my family!  Everyone loved it!  It was delicious and reminded me of the deep dish pizza we get in Chicago!  It's extremely easy too!  I always keep canned tomatoes on hand for this simple sauce.  If you want to make this Chicago style, layer your dough with the cheese and spinach first, then top it off with your sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan.  Yum!


1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons low fat milk,
warmed to 110 degrees
2 teaspoons sugar
2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra
for dusting
2-1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt

Simple Sauce:

1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon dried basil
pinch of crushed red pepper, if desired
pinch of sugar


3 cups (12 ounces) shredded mozzarella
1 box (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach,
thawed and drained well (I used 1/2 between the two)

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and preheat to 200 degrees.  Turn the oven off when it reaches 200 degrees.  Lightly grease a large bowl with cooking spray and set aside.  Evenly coat two 9-inch cake pans with 3 tablespoons oil each and set aside.  Combine the warmed milk, sugar, and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil together in a liquid measuring cup; whisk well.  If using a stand mixer, attach dough hook.  Combine flour, yeast, and salt in mixing bowl and mix on low speed.  Add the milk mixture, gradually.  Continue mixing until the dough comes together, then increase speed to medium low and knead for 4 to 5 minutes, until the dough is shiny and smooth.  Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and gently shape into a ball.  Place it in the greased bowl, turning to coat the top.  Loosely cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in the warm oven until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.  For the sauce:  Cook the garlic in the olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat, about 2 minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes and cook over medium heat about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened.  Add salt and pepper, to taste, and desired seasonings; set aside.  After the dough has doubled in size, transfer to a lightly floured work surface and divide in half.  Gently roll each half into a ball.  Roll and shape each dough ball into a 9-1/2-inch round and gently press it into an oiled pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot (not the oven, this time), until puffy and slightly risen, (about 20 minutes).  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  After the dough has finished rising, remove plastic wrap and ladle about 2/3 cup sauce onto each dough round (leave a 1/2-inch border around the edges).  Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.  Top with chopped spinach.  Bake about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and leave in pans about 1 minute.  Transfer pizzas to a cutting board and cut into wedges.        

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