We here in Chicago know and love our pizza — just take one look around at the city’s abundance of deep dish options. And while it’s tough to rival that stacked cheese and sauce Second City staple in subzero temps, we know there’s no real way to top the traditional, tried and true pies of Italy. After years in the kitchen pursuing all things Italian, chef Ray Stanis has mastered his own take on, arguably, the most important aspect of any ‘za: its dough. Whether you’re pairing up pepperoni with primitivo or market fresh tomatoes with your go-to Barbera, this recipe will surely get you started for whatever your wine and pie night becomes.
Pizza Dough Recipe (makes two balls)
300 g all purpose flour
8 g kosher salt
2 g active dry yeast
4 g extra virgin olive oil
-Mix flour and salt.
-Mix 200 g warm water with yeast and EVOO.
-Pour liquid into flour and knead for 3 minutes. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
-Knead it for 3 additional minutes, divide into two balls and let it rest overnight in refrigerator in a container with a lid.
-When ready to bake, place a pizza stone in the middle of the oven and turn it on as high as it can go. 500-550 F. Let it heat for about an hour.
-Lightly dust your counter top with more flour and begin stretching and shaping your dough to the right size (about 10-12 inches)
-Top with tomato sauce and add mozzarella cheese, basil and a drizzle of EVOO.
-Slide into oven and bake until crust is done to your liking and cheese is melted. It should take approximately 8-10 minutes depending on how hot your oven gets. When done, dust with some Parmigiano or Pecorino cheese.
Click here to view a list of our Italian Prodicer
Meet Ray Stanis, Tenzing Wine & Spirits Executive Chef and Basecamp Manager
Ray Stanis joined the Tenzing team in July 2014 as executive chef and manager of the facility’s first floor lab space, otherwise referred to as “basecamp.” It’s there that Stanis oversees the space’s inventory, organization, and cleanliness to ensure it’s equipped to host a handful of events throughout the year, including trainings, seminars, tastings, luncheons, receptions, kitchen demos, and photo shoots.
When Stanis isn’t readying the space itself for functions, he’s prepping and executing the dishes that will be served for them, from a straightforward meat and cheese board, to a five-course dinner. The cuisine ranges nearly as much as does Tenzing’s beverage portfolio, prompting Stanis to showcase his creativity through plates spanning South America, France, Spain, Japan, and Italy.
Regardless of the size or regional inspiration of the meal, though, Stanis stays steadfast in his culinary approach — one derived from the simplistic and seasonal cuisines along the Mediterranean coast, and one that encourages the ingredients to speak for themselves. As such, he prides his cooking on his quest for only the best ingredients, which he aims to source locally whenever possible from a handful of his favorite purveyors, including Nichols Farm, Green Acres Farm, and Fortune Fish.
Prior to joining Tenzing, Stanis spent two years working around the corner at Nellcôte, where he served as chef de cuisine under executive chef Jared Van Camp. He has also spent time in the kitchens of several of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants, including Tru and Blackbird. He graduated on the dean’s list and with Phi Theta Kappa honors from Chicago’s Kendall College, where he acquired his associate’s degree in culinary arts.
Today, Stanis lives in Chicago’s Edgebrook neighborhood — just minutes from his hometown of Edison Park. When he’s not at Tenzing, he likes to sift through cookbooks for inspiration and to bike through his neighborhood’s forest preserves and trails. But most of all, he enjoys spending quality time — often in the form of cooking — with his daughter Luca and his son Ronan.