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In a small bowl, combine the active dry yeast, sugar, and lukewarm water together and let sit for one minute. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Add the yeast mixture, melted butter and canola oil into the dry ingredients and stir until dough forms.
Bring the dough to a floured surface and knead until it forms a smooth ball.
Move the dough to large bowl drizzled with olive oil. Coat the dough in oil and cover and let rest for 1 hour.
In the meantime, prepare the tomato sauce: heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and add the grated onion, salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Once the onion has slightly browned, add the garlic, tomato sauce*, and tomato paste. Turn the heat down to low-medium and allow to simmer until it’s hearty, fragrant, and thick- about 30 minutes, or until the amount has reduced. It has to be thick Remove from heat and set aside until ready to be used.
Preheat your oven to 425°F (215°C).
Remove the dough and bring it onto a floured surface. Roll it out into a 12-inch (30 cm) circle. You want to stretch it out as much as you can to make a large circle. The dough needs to be stretched out enough to cover the bottom and sides of the baking pan.
Using a rolling pin as a guide, place over a 9×2-inch (23×5 cm) deep dish cake pan or cast-iron skillet. Using your fingers, press the dough into the cake pan. Make sure it is nice and tight fitting inside the pan. Trim any excess of dough off the edges with a small knife. Brush the top edges of the dough with a little olive oil, which gives the crust a beautiful sheen.
Fill the pizza with a first layer of mozzarella cheese, a second layer with the slices of Italian sausage if using, and a third layer of tomato sauce on top. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese on top.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set. To prevent the edges from burning, cover with foil after 15 minutes baking.