Wednesdays are pizza nights in our household. JJ has class until 9:30, so designating it at an official pizza night makes supper easy and gives me a reason to perfect my pizza making skills. Most importantly, it gives me a reason to eat pizza once a week. 🙂 We don’t live too far from town, but JJ and I are picky pizza eaters and have found that, usually, the cost of delivery/take-out pizza is rarely worth the price or the drive (Iowa is not known for its pizza places..but we have great pork!).
I’ve been making pizzas on my pizza stone, which usually gets me great results. However, JJ and I have really been craving a Chicago Style pizza lately, so I decided to try my hand at one, using my new cast iron skillet (cooking in that pan is like giving any meal the Midas Touch…turns an ordinary recipe to gold!). Evan was being fussy, so I didn’t take the time to photograph my way through this trial run, but here is the beautiful result.
I have to say…it was pretty good! I followed parts of this recipe specifically for a cast iron skillet pizza (click on link). If you have the time and are really craving a deep dish pizza, it’s worth it. The pizza cooked evenly in my 12 inch skillet and it had great flavor. The cheese was gooey and melty (yup, I used a whole package of sliced mozzarella and a little extra shredded cheese…we love cheese) and the crust held together very nicely. I think I’m going to eat a slice of the leftovers while I type the rest of this…excuse my saucy fingers!
One of the things I love about pizza making is that, other than the crust, you really can’t go wrong with ingredients. I made this pizza with just cheese and pepperoni, but there was plenty of room in this crust for more! Here are a few tips, based on the recipe I followed, that might help if you decide to take on this venture (again, totally worth it!).
I followed a different crust recipe that I use on a regular basis (Valentino Pizza Crust). It worked fine for this chicago pizza and was easier to make than the original recipe called for.
Add a few tablespoons of pre-mixed pizza seasonings into the dough. This really adds to the general flavor. Garlic salt is nice, too.
Before spreading the dough into the skillet, sprinkle corn meal on the bottom. This makes the pizza come out very easily…I lifted our whole pizza out of the skillet with two spatulas, which made cutting and serving much easier.
Use sliced mozzarella and fill in the “gaps” with shredded. It melts much more evenly.
If using an oven with an electric element (like mine), put the pizza on the second to bottom rack. After letting the oven heat to 500 degrees, I followed the instructions to turn down the temperature to 400 degrees, however I only cooked it for about 25 minutes. This was still about 3-5 minutes too long as the crust was slightly crunchier than I would have like it.
I intend to try this recipe again in a few weeks, cooking it for less time and jazzing up my seasonings. Also, on a side note, you’ll notice that the link to the pizza crust I used is from www.allrecipes.com. I love that site. From the serving calculator (does the math for you if you want to increase or decrease the amount of what you’re cooking) to the nutritional information, I have found many useful tools there. Plus the reviews people leave are incredibly helpful…it’s like a cooking class every time I research recipes on that site!