Recipe: Chicago deep-dish pizza


80 ml (1⁄3 cup) olive oil, for pan-frying
300 g (2 cups) shredded mozzarella
25 g (1⁄4 cup) grated parmesan

250 ml (1 cup) lukewarm water
2 teaspoons active dried yeast (1×7 g sachet)
1 tablespoon sugar
375 g (2½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
60 g (½ cup) semolina, plus extra for dusting
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

2 slices white bread, crust removed
2 tablespoons full-cream (whole) milk
400 g minced (ground) beef
100 g minced (ground) pork
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
a few parsley sprigs, finely chopped
1 egg
1 large onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 brown onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
125 ml (½ cup) red wine
700 g tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)
2 teaspoons Italian herb mix
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste


First, make the pizza dough. Add the water, yeast and sugar to a jug, stir, then leave to sit for 10 minutes, or until foamy on top.

Add the flour, semolina and salt to the bowl of an electric mixer. Pour in the olive oil and foamy yeast mixture and mix on low speed for about 5 minutes, to form a soft, supple dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave the dough to prove in a warm spot for 1–2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, make the meatballs. In a large bowl, soak the bread in the milk until softened and mushy. Add the remaining ingredients and use your hand to mix everything together until well combined.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. In batches, use a teaspoon to scoop up some of the meatball mixture and drop it into the hot oil. Fry the meatballs until browned all over, about 2–3 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towel.

In the same pan, start making the tomato sauce. Sauté the onion and garlic for 2 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Pour in the wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any meaty bits stuck to the pan. Add the passata and season with herbs, chilli flakes, salt and pepper, stirring well. Turn the heat down to medium–low and simmer for 20–30 minutes, until the sauce is rich and thick. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.

Heat the oven to 220°C and move an oven rack to the bottom rung of the oven. Brush the inside of a 24 cm cast-iron or heavy-based ovenproof pan with olive oil. Sprinkle some semolina inside, tilt and rotate the pan around until fully coated, then tip out the excess semolina.

When the dough is ready, punch it down and place on a lightly floured surface. Gently knead the dough back into a round, soft dough. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough in half. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and freeze it for another occasion. Roll the other half out into a 30 cm circle. Drape the dough over the semolina-coated pan, then press it down into the pan to fill all the gaps. Trim off any excess dough around the edges; it’s okay to leave some overhanging the pan a little.

Evenly spread half the mozzarella over the pizza base. Top with the meatballs, then cover with the remaining mozzarella. Pour 250 ml (1 cup) tomato sauce all over until fully covered, adding more if needed. Then sprinkle the parmesan over the top.

Bake for 30–35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown, covering the top with foil if it’s browning too quickly. Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe from XXL by Billy Law, published by Smith Street Books, $39.99.

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