Chicago Style Pizza

James McCandless, junior economics major, enjoys cooking when he’s given the opportunity. Although he doesn’t do it frequently, when he does, he puts on a show and even dresses up as a chef.
“Making things work into something you can eat and enjoy is fun to do,” McCandless says. “I don’t do it often, but it’s almost therapeutic.”
Born and raised in Lubbock, McCandless says he chose St. Mary’s because of the small class sizes and because he visits part of his family that lives in San Antonio.
“I like the attentiveness of the professors to their students. You can actually build a good relationship outside of classes. As an added bonus, I get to see some family that I don’t visit often,” he says.
McCandless mentions pizza is one of his favorite foods to prepare because he enjoys the creativity that can come when preparing it.
“When I knew I was making the Chicago style pizza, I knew I had to dress up. I found a chef’s hat in amazon for $6 and had to buy it,” he says.
McCandless mentioned that this was the third time making this particular type of pizza; previously, he made it with sausage and pepperoni. This time he changed it up with beef and chicken—which he really enjoyed.
“Making a pizza from scratch is special. Not everyone does that with all of the daily options available,” he says.
“From a person who cooks migas (scrambled tortillas and eggs), bacon and eggs and several quality sandwiches, I’m still surprised how good the pizza came out,” McCandless says.

Chicago-Style Pizza

Dough Ingredients
3 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c (scant) water
1/2 c yellow cornmeal
1/2 c canola oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Sauce Ingredients
3 1/2 c 6 IN 1 brand crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 tbsp italian herba/seasonings

Twenty-four Hours prior to baking, in a mixing bowl, add the water, sugar, yeast, flour, cornmeal, and salt. Mix on low speed for a few minutes until the dough comes together, then slowly add the oil. Continue to mix dough for seven more minutes. The dough should be somewhat moist and smooth, not sticky, and should weigh about two pounds. Form the dough into a ball and place into a bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and then with a dish towel and place in the refrigerator for an overnight rise. Remove the bowl from the refrigerator about one hour prior to making the pizza. Set the bottom oven rack to its lowest position and preheat the oven to 450 F. for at least 30 minutes prior to baking. After resting for one hour, the dough is now ready to be placed into the baking pan. Coat the bottom of a well-seasoned 15″ × 2″ deep-dish pan with regular olive oil (do not use extra virgin). Place the dough ball in the center of the pan and press it out until it covers the entire bottom. Then, using fingers, pull the dough up the side of the pan. The edge should be pinched up against the side of the pan. If the dough resists holding shape, cover with a towel and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes before trying again. Using either sliced mozzarella or a blend of sliced mozzarella and provolone, cover the bottom of the dough with cheese. Add desired toppings (sweet Italian sausage is very popular in Chicago). For this pizza sausage and pepperoni are used. Top with six inches 1 brand crushed tomatoes spooned directly from the can. (Please note that six inches 1 brand tomatoes are very fresh tasting tomatoes and are recommended for this recipe). Use hands if necessary to spread out the tomatoes. You can purchase them online from the manufacturer at Finish topping with Italian herbs/seasonings (chopped fresh basil and dried oregano flakes are favorites) and finally with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Place the pan in the center of the bottom oven rack and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, turning once half way through, until the crust is golden brown. Remove the pizza from the oven and allow to cool for about 3 minutes. Remove the pizza from the baking pan and place on a cutting board or serving pan.

This recipe makes about 8 thick slices.

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