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one tasty deep dish...

(post, Tiersa Rodell)

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We love pizza, and we eat it at least once a month, if not more. Sometimes I make my own crust, but lately I have been using the premade dough from Trader Joe's. They sell a regular, whole wheat, and garlic herb crust dough. It comes in a bag, refrigerated, and all you need to do it plop it on the floured counter (or board) for a half hour, roll it out, and voila, ready to decorate! We love the garlic herb because it has great flavor.

I tend to over-flow my pizza. I mean, what's another topping or twelve? So when I happened across a Food Network special on the secret life of pizza, including the deep dish Chicago style pizza pie, I knew I had found the solution to my overfilled pizza problem! The last time I had a deep dish pizza was 1981. I remember exactly where I was at the time too. I have no idea why it's been so long, but hey, it was definitely worth trying again.

I used a 9 inch round cake pan, gave it a quick spray of pam (don't ask, I apparently was having a menopausal moment!), plopped in the dough, pressed it out and up the sides as much as it would go. The "up the sides" part was a bit of a battle, and took a while to sort-of stick. Next time I will roll out the dough first, larger than the pan, and then place it in like a pie crust. I will also use a bit more flour next time (without the Pam) and see if it makes it a bit easier. Another option is corn meal, but I didn't have any on hand. Even as it was, once it cooked, it worked its way up the sides and turned into a great pie.

I topped the crust with some garlic mushroom marinara sauce (it was a Trader Joe's kind of night), a thin layer of mozzarella, home-seasoned caraway seed & sage sausage, Canadian bacon, halved grape tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, black olives, some feta, and another layer (bit heavier) of mozzarella. I popped it into a preheated 400 degree oven, and cooked it for 40 minutes.

My only concern when it came out of the oven was that I may have overcooked it and burned the cheese, but I was able to easily pop it out of the pan, and slice it into wedges; and despite how it looked, it tasted wonderful! Next time I may cook the first 20 minutes with foil, so that the top is brown but not as crunchy. Never the less, it was so good, fabulous flavor, great cheese, and held together well in the deep dish form. We will be making this one again. Soon!