To prepare dough, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour and salt to the yeast mixture, stirring with a whisk until well combined. Stir in 1 3/4 cups flour, stirring until a dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky).
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let stand 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°.
To prepare topping, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage and onion; cook for 5 minutes or until sausage is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain; set sausage mixture aside.
Return pan to medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook 5 minutes or until moisture evaporates, stirring frequently. Remove mushrooms from pan, and set aside.
Return pan to medium heat; add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds or until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in oregano, fennel, and tomato sauce; simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce mixture is slightly thickened.
Coat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil, and sprinkle cornmeal over oil. Place dough in skillet, gently stretching edges to evenly coat bottom and sides of pan. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over the bottom of dough; top evenly with sausage mixture and mushrooms. Top mushrooms with sauce mixture; sprinkle Parmesan over sauce. Bake at 375° for 40 minutes or until crust browns and topping is bubbly. Let pizza stand 10 minutes before serving.
You can prepare the dough the night before and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight, if you prefer.
I can eat pizza again!!! After losing 140lbs. it was great to find a recipe that could fit into my new life-style!!! This pizza was great and the kids loved it. My son made a comment that the sauce wsa outstanding.
I used premade pizza dough :( :( and put this pizza in together in only 15 minutes. If I shut my eyes, I would swear that I was in a Chicago!! It was absolutely wonderful! I will make the homemade dough next time though!!
I was slightly disappointed with this recipe, being a cheese lover. The pizza came out looking and smelling awesome but when I bit into it, all that mozzarella on the bottom seemed to disappear somewhere. If I'm gonna consume the calories, I want to at least taste it!! The sauce was KILLER, though. I will make again, but next time I'll put the cheese on the top. Changes: Trader Joe's whole wheat dough, fresh rosemary instead of fennel seed, stirred some wine into the sauce.
This pizza was fantastic! Above and beyond any other pizza recipes I've tried from Cooking Light (or anywhere else, for that matter). What a dramatic presentation, too! My cast iron skillet is a 10", though, so the pizza was slightly thicker, but I prefer a thick crust, anyway. The only change I would make would be to add a little bit more salt to the dough which tasted a touch bland compared with the salty toppings. Very true-to-form for the Chicago-Style Pizza, though.