Pizza is one of those foods that are impossible to hate. Even if you donâ€™t like the traditional toppings, you can mix and match and create your own version that suits your particular palate. It is a no-fuss, no-worry dish to serve at any party.
No surprise that I prefer NY style pizza over any others. My particular favorite is Johnâ€™s on Bleecker Street, enjoyed in a hard, wood booth in the grungy building, surrounded by autographed photos and strange murals of Italy. If I were to only eat one type of pizza for the rest of my life it would be theirs. However, Iâ€™m not above other styles of the savory pie. Since we are heading into Chicago to face the White Sox this weekend, I thought Iâ€™d give a deep dish a go. I made this version using hollowed out club rolls so I didnâ€™t have to mess with getting the dough right. The result is a hearty, belly-busting dish that is packed with flavor. They actually turned out so well that they will be making many repeat appearances on our dinner table.
Deep Dish French Bread Pizza
For the sauce:
1 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 clove garlic
2 t. dried oregano
Â½ t. salt
Â½ t. sugar
Â¼ t. fresh ground pepper
For the pizzas:
5 club rolls, 5-6â€ each
1 TB cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1 t. salt
Â½ t. pepper
4-5 button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
20 slices pepperoni
2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Pour the can of crushed tomatoes into a small bowl. Finely mince the garlic and toss in with the tomatoes (I like to use my microplane to do this since the garlic wonâ€™t burn in the sauce and this way you wonâ€™t get large chunks of raw garlic while you eat). Stir in the oregano, salt, sugar and pepper. Set aside.
Prepare the rolls: Cut off just the very top crust of the roll. Use your fingers to pull out the bread from inside the roll, creating a bowl. Be careful not to pull too much off from close to the sides and bottom as you donâ€™t want the ingredients to leak out. You will want the sides and bottom to be about Â½-3/4â€ thick. (Toast up the bread you pulled out to use as croutons in a soup or salad to avoid waste!)
Heat the cooking oil in a sautÃ© pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sautÃ© for about 2-3 minutes or until tender. Add the ground beef to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Break up the meat as it cooks with a wooden spoon, stirring frequently until the meat is no longer pink. Remove from the heat and drain using a metal colander. Set aside.
Place the â€œbread bowlsâ€ onto a baking sheet. Spread the bottom of each with a good portion of the sauce. Then divide the ground beef mixture among the rolls (you donâ€™t want these to over flow too much, so use less beef if necessary). Layer the mushrooms and the pepperoni on top of the beef. Now top the each bun with the mozzarella cheese. The mixture/cheese should come just barely above the top of the bun as it will sink a little as it cooks.
Cook the deep dish pizzas for about 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling, the bread is slightly toasted, and the ingredients are warmed through. Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
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