We adore pizza. When The Pizza Bible came across our desk, we were ecstatic to take 11-time world Champion Tony Gemignani's Master Class in all things pizza. Not only are we experts now, we're making it in nine different regional styles. From Chicago deep-dish to cracker-thin, the book's spectrum is wide and wonderful, with something to suit every mood and occasion. If you've ever wanted to make pizzeria-style pizza at home and succeed at it— you absolutely must check it out.
with sausage, spinach and ricotta is the other classic Chicago pizza combo.
You’ll find some recipes—and some pizzerias—that use raw spinach. I start with
raw spinach but I sauté it lightly in a little olive oil until it is just
wilted and still green. Then I drain it in a colander or strainer, pressing it
gently to help remove what liquid hasn’t already cooked off. This approach
makes a huge difference because it intensifies the spinach flavor and reduces
the moisture that would result in a wet filling and a soggy crust. I like to
reserve some of the spinach and ricotta to add as a garnish.
RECIPE: Chicago Deep Dish with Spinach and Ricotta
Yields one 13-inch deep round pizza; 6 large slices
(27-ounce/765-gram) ball Chicago Deep-Dish Dough (see recipe below)
cornmeal, for dusting
(9 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Remove the dough ball from
the refrigerator and leave wrapped at room temperature until the dough warms to
55°F to 60°F. Meanwhile, set up the oven with two pizza stones or baking steels
and preheat to 500°F for 1 hour.
Generously butter the
bottom and sides of a 12 by 2-inch or 13 by 2-inch round deep-dish pizza pan.
Dust the work surface with
a generous amount of cornmeal, then transfer the dough to the surface. Coat
both sides of the dough round with the cornmeal and roll out the dough into a
Working quickly but
carefully, lift the dough and lower it into the center of the prepared pan.
Lift the edges of the dough to ease the dough into the corners. The dough will
overhang the rim of the pan. Press around the edge of the dough to secure it to
the pan rim. Set aside to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Arrange the mozzarella
slices in the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan, overlapping the
slices as necessary. Reserve 1/2 cup (95 grams) of the spinach and scatter the
remaining spinach evenly over the mozzarella.
Sprinkle with a light dusting of
pecorino and the garlic. Arrange the provolone slices over the top. Run the
rolling pin over the lip of the pan to cut away the excess dough. If the dough
shrinks back, use your fingers to press the dough around the inside of the pan,
extending it to the lip.
Place the pan on the bottom stone.
Bake for 15 minutes, rotate the pan 180 degrees, and continue to bake for another
12 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust is a rich golden brown.
Meanwhile, put the ricotta in a pastry bag with a 1/4-inch opening or plain
If the reserved spinach is cold, warm
it in a pan or in the microwave.
Take the pan out of the oven and
sprinkle the shredded mozzarella over the top of the pizza. Place on the top
stone for 2 minutes to melt the shredded cheese.
Remove from the oven and run a long
metal spatula around the inside of the pan to loosen the pizza from the pan.
Then, using the spatula, lift an edge and check the bottom of the crust. It
should be browned and crisp.
If it needs more time, return the pan
to the bottom stone for 1 minute.
Using the spatula, and being careful
not to pierce the bottom of the crust, lift the pizza from the pan and transfer
it to a cutting board. Using a rocking cutter or a serrated knife, cut the
pizza into 6 large wedges, leaving them in place. Spoon the sauce over the top
and spread it to the edges with a small offset spatula. Pipe quarter-size
dollops of ricotta onto the pizza and garnish with the reserved spinach. Finish
with a dusting of pecorino and of oregano and a drizzle of garlic oil.
Yields 2-1/4 cups (510 grams )
6 ounces (170 grams or 2/3 cup) tomato paste, preferably Saporito Super
Heavy Pizza Sauce
3 ounces (85 grams or 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) ground tomatoes,
preferably 7/11 or DiNapoli
3/4 teaspoon (.5 grams) dried oregano
Pinch of fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) extra virgin olive oil
9 ounces (255 grams or 1-1/3 cups) hand-crushed tomatoes
How to Make Hand-Crushed
Whether you start with canned or cooked fresh tomatoes, you’ll want to
rinse your hands frequently as you work, so set up your station near the sink
or have a bowl of cold water nearby. Put a strainer over a bowl. Working over a
second bowl, lift a tomato, pinch off the head (stem end) and any unripe areas,
and let those pieces drop into the bowl. Some tomatoes may not be deep red. I
prefer not to use those, but it’s your call. Open up the tomato, remove any
skins, seeds, or tough sections and add them to your discard bowl. Break the
cleaned tomato into small pieces or strips and put them in the strainer. Keep
in mind that these will not be blended, so if they look too coarse for your
taste, run them through your fingers to make smaller pieces. Continue cleaning
and crushing tomatoes until you have the amount called for in your recipe.
Press gently on the tomatoes to strain as much liquid as possible. Discard the
contents of the discard bowl and the bowl below the strainer. One 28-ounce can
of tomatoes should yield 1 generous cup (250 grams) crushed tomatoes.
Makes a generous 1/2 cup (130
3 ounces (90 grams/1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) whole-milk ricotta
cheese, at room temperature
Put all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Using a handheld mixer, mix
the ingredients until smooth and creamy. Let the mixture rest for 1 hour before
using. The ricotta cream can be refrigerated for a few hours before using, but
bring it to room temperature before using.
1-1/2 cup (285 grams )
(455 grams) baby spinach
salt and freshly ground
Heat a generous film of
oil in your largest skillet over medium-high heat. Shake any excess water from
the spinach and add several handfuls to the skillet, leaving enough room to
turn the spinach. Sprinkle with a pinch each of salt and pepper. As the spinach
wilts and room is made, turn the spinach and add more to the skillet. When you
have cooked about half of the spinach, transfer it to a strainer or colander.
Discard the liquid in the
skillet, wipe it dry, and heat another generous film of oil over medium-high
heat. Sauté the remaining spinach the same way and add to the strainer. Drain
the spinach well, squeezing it gently
between your hands.
The spinach can be stored
in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.
Makes 1/4 cup (60 grams)
Garlic oil is one of my favorite “secret ingredients” for finishing
pizzas. It’s quick and easy to make, but it’s best made at least an hour in
advance. The longer you leave it, the more the garlic flavor infuses into the
oil, so I recommend making it a day ahead, at the same time you make your
1-1/2 teaspoons (5 grams) minced garlic
1/4 cup (55 grams) extra virgin olive oil
Combine the garlic and oil in a small bowl. Cover and store in the
refrigerator for a day or two.
RECIPE: Chicago Deep-Dish
Yields 27 ounces (770 grams), enough
for 1 deep-dish pizza
grams (1-1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
grams (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) warm water (80°F to 85°F)
grams (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) lard, cut into small pieces, at room
grams (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) European-style unsalted butter, preferably
82 percent butterfat, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
grams (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon) ice water, plus more as needed
grams (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
the yeast in a small bowl, add the warm water, and whisk vigorously for 30
seconds. The yeast should dissolve in the water and the mixture should foam. If
it doesn’t and the yeast granules float, the yeast is “dead” and the mixture
should be discarded. Begin again with a fresh amount of yeast and water.
the flour, cornmeal, and malt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the
dough hook. With the mixer running on the lowest speed, add the lard and butter
and mix for 1 minute.
in most of the ice water, reserving about 2 tablespoons, followed by the
yeast-water mixture. Pour the reserved water into the yeast bowl, swirl it
around to dislodge any bits of yeast stuck to the bowl, and add to the mixer.
to mix the dough at the lowest speed for about 1 minute, until most of the
dough comes together around the hook. Stop the mixer. Use your fingers to pull
away any dough that clings to the hook, and scrape the sides and bottom of the
bowl with a bowl scraper or rubber spatula.
the salt and mix on the lowest speed for 1 minute to combine.
the bottom of the bowl for any unincorporated flour. Turn the dough over and
press it into the bottom of the bowl to pick up any stray pieces.
the mixer, pull the dough off the hook, and scrape down the sides and bottom of
the bowl. If there is still unincorporated flour at the bottom of the bowl,
sprinkle with a very small amount of water and mix for 1 minute.
a bowl scraper to transfer the dough to an unfloured work surface, then knead
it for 2 to 3 minutes, until smooth. Cover the dough with a damp dish towel and
let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
a dough cutter to loosen the dough and move it to the scale. You will need 27
ounces (770 grams) of dough. You may have a little extra dough.
the dough into a ball and set it on a half sheet pan. Wrap the pan airtight
with a double layer of plastic wrap, sealing the wrap well under the pan. Put
the pan in a level spot in the refrigerator and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.
on Making Vegetarian Deep-Dish Dough: You can substitute 18 grams vegetable
shortening for the lard.
Reprinted with permission from The Pizza Bible by Tony Gemignani, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2014 by Sara Remington.