The Easiest Way to Make Pizza at Home Without a Pizza Oven

Jeff Mauro walks us through his secrets to the perfect deep-dish pizza — and it involves a duvet cover of cheese.

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Jeff Mauro portrait, as seen on Food Network Kitchen Live.

Photo by: Sean Rosenthal

Sean Rosenthal

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When a pizza craving hits, everyone's first reaction is to pick up the phone and order from the local spot. And, while we love delivery night, there is something special about taking the time to make your own. Unless you have the right equipment, though, it can be hard to achieve that same restaurant quality. But this is where a classic Chicago-style deep-dish pizza wins the night. In a class on the Food Network Kitchen app, Chicago native Jeff Mauro gives us some tips to make the beloved Midwestern dish, and he promises that even pizza purists will love it.

Elevate Your Homemade Dough

His Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza is the perfect weekend project, as it does take a little time to come together. The homemade dough needs to rest for six hours before you can build your pizza, but it’s worth it to yield what Jeff describes as crisp, almost biscuit-like dough. This texture is due in part to the unconventional addition of cream of tartar and a little butter. Jeff melts butter over the stove before adding it to the bottom of a true Chicago deep-dish-pizza pan (he assures a cake pan will also suffice). Next, he covers the entire inner interior of the pan with pizza dough, creating a flat, high base for the toppings.

Pile Your Toppings in the Right Order

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza beauty, as seen on Food Network Kitchen Live.

Photo by: Sean Rosenthal

Sean Rosenthal

Jeff’s Chicago-style pizza starts not with sauce, but with a base of cheese. Yes, before adding any sauce, you’ll want to create a complete “duvet cover of cheese” on the bottom of the pie. Once you’ve added a hefty layer of part-skim, low-moisture mozzarella, it's time for meat. Jeff opts for half-sausage, half-pepperoni — making sure there is something for either preference.

Hand-Crush Your Tomatoes

Next, grab a can of whole San Marzano tomatoes and give them a good crush with your hands. You don’t want to get too much moisture in there, so be sure to strain out most of the water before layering the tomatoes on top of your pie. Just a little sprinkle of parmesan is all that's left before your pizza is ready to hit the oven. Once it's fully baked, let it sit for about five minutes to let everything rest and cool, and you’ll be left with a cheesy masterpiece that will cure any craving you have.

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