Just in time for the Fourth, I bring you...deep dish american flag pizza. Yes! Not a pie or a cake, which are both also amazing and I still might try to make one, but a pizza flag, because y'all know I'm a huge fan of all things savory and all things pizza.
We are serious pizza eating people. Naturally after having spent quite some time in NYC, our favorite kind of pizza is generally a thin crust. You know, the big slices that you can cover in garlic powder and crushed red pepper, fold in half and eat on the side of a busy street corner. I once had a work trip to Chicago when we had just moved to NYC, and I decided to try out a deep dish pizza with the recent exposure to NY pizza. While it was really good, it's just different. I don't really think it's fair to compare the two. One is like a pizza pie, with a ton of bread (YUM) and the other is foldable, portable, and sold per slice. Both are good, but in the end I think I'm a thin crust gal over deep dish.
Nevertheless! I love making pizza at home and have not yet given deep dish pizza a try. It needed to happen.
And it needed to be patriotic and perfect for 4th of July.
I did lots of research on how best to make a deep dish and how to turn it into the U.S. flag. While there aren't any blue foods really, there are purple eggplants, that (imo) taste really good on pizza (you know like Eggplant parmesan!). You could also sub the tomatoes for pepperoni, if you want to go that route. When I baked the pizza, some of the tomatoes shifted around due to the cheesiness but that was okay with me. Not everything can be perfect all the time, right? Also it can be hard to tell if the dough is cooked in the middle since it's very thick but I found that 45 min at 375 did the trick for me. If you take it out and slice into it and it is still doughy in the middle, just pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so.
Hope everyone has a fun and safe 4th of July holiday!
Deep Dish American Flag Pizza
makes 1 9x13 deep dish pizza
- 2 lbs. of your favorite pizza dough (I used Jim Lahey's No Knead Dough)
For the sauce - adapted from Food 52
- 1-2 tbl. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, diced small
- 1 6-oz can tomato paste
- 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
For the toppings:
- 1 eggplant, outside skin sliced into lengthwise strips
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 oz ball mozzarella
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
for the eggplant: Season the eggplant generously with salt and pepper. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the sliced eggplant, skin side down and sear until skin is soft, about 2-3 minutes. Flip over and cook an additional 3-4 minutes or until eggplant is soft. Set aside to cool slightly.
to make the sauce: In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add in the minced garlic, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium low, and add the tomato paste and break up with a wooden spoon until it is mixed with the onions and garlic. Stir for another minute or two until the paste darkens slightly. Add in the crushed tomatoes, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Bring mixture to a simmer, and allow to cook for 20 -25 minutes to develop flavor. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
assembly: Generously grease a 9x13" pan with olive oil. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pizza dough into a rectangle that is slightly larger than the pan. Press the dough with lightly floured fingers until it is the right shape. Carefully transfer dough to the pan, and shape with hands until dough is spread evenly throughout pan, and comes up the sides of the pan by at least one inch. Stipple the dough with your fingers and then lightly rub with a little more olive oil. Let dough rest for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Scoop 1 cup of the sauce atop the dough and spread into an even layer. Top with the sliced mozzarella and distribute evenly across.
Top with the rest of the sauce and an even layer of the shredded mozzarella. In the top left hand corner, add 3-4 even slices of the cooked eggplant. Top with a handful of cubed mozzarella. Arrange the halved cherry tomatoes in even lines around the eggplant corner, making it look like the American flag. (I did 5 rows of cherry tomatoes because I couldn't fit the actual 7!)
Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before serving.