2(14.5 oz. cans)Italian-style diced tomatoes, drained
1 and ½tsp.salt
¼tsp.red pepper flakes
Pizza toppings: (For 1 - 9" deep-dish pizza)
8oz.mozzarella, freshly shredded or sliced
½lb.mild Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled
Make the Pizza Dough:
Add the active dry yeast, warm water, sugar, olive oil, and melted butter to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Mix until frothy and let sit for a few minutes to activate the yeast.
Add the salt, cornmeal, and flour and mix on low speed or with a wooden spatula until the dough starts to come together. If using a stand mixer: Turn the speed up to high and knead until the dough is coming off of the sides of the bowl. About 8 minutes If making by hand: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, coat your hands with flour and knead with your hands by pushing it away from you with the palm of your hand, then fold it back towards you and push it away again. Lightly coat your hands with more flour as needed if the dough starts sticking. Form the dough into a ball and gently make an indent with your finger. If it bounces back then it’s ready, if not, keep kneading until it does. Kneading by hand usually takes about 8-10 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball and place in a bowl coated with about 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 60-90 minutes.
Punch the dough down to release the air. Lightly flour a clean surface and roll the dough out into an 18 x 10" rectangle. Spread the softened butter all around the dough and roll it up like you would cinnamon rolls into a long and skinny log.
Cut the log in half then fold each half into thirds, like you would fold a letter. Form into a ball and place in a bowl coated with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight.
Make the Sauce:
Add the olive oil to a medium pot and place over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and saute an additional minute. Stir in the drained canned tomatoes, brown sugar, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes and then pour the sauce into a blender or food processor. Pulse the sauce a few times until it's mostly smooth but still a little chunky.
Pour the sauce back into the pot, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Assemble and Bake:
Preheat your oven to 425°F and grease a 9" springform pan or cake pan with olive oil.
Remove one portion of dough from the fridge* and on a lightly floured surface roll it out into a 12" circle. Press the dough into the prepared pan and trim the edges, if necessary.
Spread the shredded cheese evenly in the bottom on top of the dough, top with the cooked Italian sausage, then pour the sauce over the top.
Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese, if desired.
*Using a springform pan makes slicing and serving 1000 x easier and so it's what I recommend. *Wrap the second portion of dough with plastic wrap, place it in a plastic bag, and save it for a later use.If you're making 2 - 9" pizzas, you will need to double the sauce and topping ingredients. If you're just making the 1, save the wrapped portion of dough in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer for 3 months.