I realize this will be a personal subject for some of my midwestern friends.  Deep dish pizza always is.  It’s like talking about New York bagels or Seattle’s seafood, or barbecue in Texas, Memphis, Kansas City, well…anywhere in the south.  Regional favorites are always a little personal, only because they occupy so many parts of our hearts: nostalgia, pride, love, appetite. Even if they’re a mediocre version, it brings about an emotional response.  So my attempt here isn’t to trample on any memories of traditional Chicago deep dish pizza, but instead to borrow from this delicious tradition and put my personal spin on it.

If you read this blog or know me, you know I love burrata. I LOVE it.  It’s always a winner.  So when coming up with my fantasy deep dish pizza, burrata was the first ingredient I leapt towards.  Next I added roasted butternut squash, then brown butter, then finocchiona, basically I just put everything I loved into this pizza.  The result was delicious, but so hearty. In California terms, one 14 inch pizza feeds about 7 people, in Chicago terms, I’m pretty sure it would serve 4, tops. Enjoy!

For one 14 inch pizza

Serves 5




2 1/4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting

3/4 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon dry active yeast (1/2 packet)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup warm water (about the temperature of bath water)


3 cups squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1 yellow onion, halved and sliced

1/4 cup olive oil

8 ounces finocchiona, thinly sliced

8 ounces burrata, roughly chopped

4 ounces ricotta

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

10 sage leaves

1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese, plus additional for serving

salt and pepper

2 cups tomato sauce (see below)


6 garlic cloves

1/4 cup olive oil

1 pinch chili flake

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 28-ounce can pureed tomatoes

1 bunch basil

1 tablespoon sugar


For preparing the dough; combine flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in bowl of food processor. Pulse 3 to 4 times until incorporated. Add olive oil and water. Run food processor until mixture forms ball that rides around the bowl above the blade, about 15 seconds. Continue processing 20-30 seconds longer. (If you don’t have a food processor, a standing mixer with dough hook is fine.  Just knead until the dough slaps the sides of the bowl and gathers in a ball on the hook (about 10-15 minutes)).

Transfer dough ball to lightly floured surface and knead once or twice by hand until smooth ball is formed. Tear off a golf ball sized piece ad stretch it with your hands.  It should easily stretch until you can sort of see light through it.  This is known as the “windowpane test.” Place dough in a lightly oiled container.  Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and allow to rise until doubled in size (about 2-3 hours).

For the rest: Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

While the dough is rising, get your other ingredients ready. Put the butternut squash, fennel and sliced onion on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast until tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes for the fennel, 40 minutes for the rest, flipping once halfway through.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat, along with the sage leaves.  Let the butter brown and the sage leaves crisp up, and pour into a small bowl to cool.

For the tomato sauce, add the olive oil with whole cloves of garlic to a medium pot over medium heat, and cook till the garlic is golden brown all around (about 15 minutes). Add the chili flake and oregano, cook for about 10 seconds (until fragrant) and then add the pureed tomatoes and whole bunch of basil tied together with string. Cook until slightly thick, about 30 minutes.  Remove the basil and puree.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Oil a 14-inch round deep-dish pizza pan with the extra-virgin olive oil. Press dough into the pan, pressing to the edge and stretching about 1 1/2 inches up the sides. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Layer the burrata and ricotta all over the bottom of the pies. Top with the butternut squash, fennel, caramelized onion, and finnochiona.  Drizzle with brown butter and sprinkle with sage leaves.

Ladle the sauce evenly over the pizza and top with parm.

Bake until the top is golden and the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, slice and serve hot.