Chicago-style pizza

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Chicago-style pizza
Deep Dish Pizza.jpg
A slice of deep dish pizza
Place of origin United States
Region or state Chicago
Main ingredient(s) Pizza dough, tomato sauce, cheese

Chicago-style pizza includes several different pizza styles developed in Chicago. Chicago-style deep-dish pizza has a crust up to three inches tall at the edge, slightly higher than the ingredients, which include large amounts of cheese and chunky tomato sauce. Besides the deep-dish style, there is also stuffed pizza. Most pizzerias in Chicago also serve thin-crust pizza in a style characteristic to the city, although Chicago-style pizza is most commonly known for the deep-dish style of pizza outside the Chicago metropolitan area.

Styles of pizza[edit]

Deep-dish pizza[edit]

Deep dish pizza from the original Pizzeria Uno location.
Deep dish pizza from Gino's East of Chicago.

According to Tim Samuelson, the City of Chicago's official cultural historian there is not enough documentation to determine with certainty who invented Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. [1] Although now a matter of legend we can say with certainty that either Ike Sewell and/or Rudy Malnati invented Chicago-style deep-dish at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago in 1943.

Legend has it that: Chicago-style deep-dish pizza was invented at Pizzeria Uno, in Chicago, in 1943,[2] reportedly by Uno's founder Ike Sewell, a former University of Texas football star. However, a 1956 article from the Chicago Daily News asserts that Uno's original pizza chef Rudy Malnati developed the recipe.[3]

The primary difference between deep-dish pizza and most other forms of pizza is that, as the name suggests, the crust is very deep, creating a very thick pizza that resembles a pie more than a flatbread. Although the entire pizza is very thick, in traditional Chicago-style deep-dish pizzas, the crust itself is thin to medium in thickness, not to be confused with imitations created outside Chicago which use a much thicker crust, often called "pan pizza".

Deep-dish pizza is baked in a round, steel pan that is more similar to a cake or pie pan than a typical pizza pan. The pan is oiled in order to allow for easy removal as well as to create a fried effect on the outside of the crust. In addition to ordinary wheat flour, the pizza dough may contain semolina or food coloring, giving the crust a distinctly yellowish tone. The dough is pressed up onto the sides of the pan, forming a bowl for a very thick layer of toppings.

The thick layer of toppings used in deep-dish pizza requires a longer baking time, which could burn cheese or other toppings if they were used as the top layer of the pizza. Because of this, the toppings are assembled 'upside-down' from their usual order on a pizza. The crust is covered with cheese (generally sliced mozzarella), followed by various meat options such as pepperoni or sausage, the latter of which is sometimes in a solid patty-like layer. Other toppings such as onions, mushrooms and bell peppers are then also used. An uncooked sauce, typically made from crushed canned tomatoes, is added as the finishing layer.[2] It is typical that when ordered for carry-out or delivery, the pizza is uncut, as this prevents the oils from soaking into the crust, causing the pie to become soggy.

Some Chicago deep-dish pizza restaurants ship their partially baked pizzas within the continental U.S.[4][5]

Stuffed pizza[edit]

A Giordano's stuffed pizza

By the mid-1970s, two Chicago chains, Nancy's Pizza, founded by Rocco Palese, and Giordano's Pizzeria, operated by brothers Efren and Joseph Boglio, began experimenting with deep dish pizza and created the stuffed pizza.[6] Palese based his creation on his mother's recipe for scarciedda, an Italian Easter pie from his hometown of Potenza.[7] Chicago Magazine articles featuring Nancy's Pizza and Giordano's stuffed pizza popularized the dish.

Stuffed pizzas are often even deeper than deep-dish pizzas, but otherwise, it can be hard to see the difference until it is cut into. A stuffed pizza generally has much deeper topping density than any other type of pizza. As with deep-dish pizza, a deep layer of dough forms a bowl in a high-sided pan and the toppings and cheese are added. Then, an additional layer of dough goes on top and is pressed to the sides of the crust.

At this stage, the thin dough top has a rounded, domed appearance. Pizza makers often poke a small hole in the top of the "lid" to allow air and steam to escape while cooking, so that the pizza does not explode. Typically, but not always, tomato sauce is ladled over the top crust before the pizza is baked.

Thin-crust pizza[edit]

Chicago style, party cut, thin-crust pizza.

There is also a style of thin-crust pizza found in Chicago and throughout the rest of the Midwest. The crust is thin and firm enough to have a noticeable crunch, unlike a New York-style pizza. This pizza is cut into squares, also known as party cut or tavern cut,[8] as opposed to a pie cut into wedges. Aurelios is a chain which specializes in this kind of pizza. Casa Bianca,[9] located in the Eagle Rock section of Los Angeles, is also well known for this style of thin-crusted Chicago bar pizza.[10][11][12]

Notable vendors[edit]

See also[edit]

Chicago-style deep dish soy cheese pizza made in San Francisco

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chicago Tribune, Who Invented Deep Dish?
  2. ^ a b Who Cooked That Up?
  3. ^ Pizano's History Page
  4. ^ Zimmerman, Karla; Cavalieri, Nate (2008). Chicago: city guide. Lonely Planet. p. 122. ISBN 1-74104-767-6. 
  5. ^ Lou Malnati's Deep Dish Pizza
  6. ^ Pollack, Penny; Jeff Ruby (2005). Everybody Loves Pizza. Emmis Books. p. 33. ISBN 1-57860-218-1. 
  7. ^ Nancy's Pizza
  8. ^ Vettel, Phil; Kevin Pang (2009-07-23). "Pizza slices: Two foodies debate the merits of wedge versus 'party cut'". Chicago Tribune (Chicago, IL: Tribune Company). Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  9. ^ Corcoran, Monica (2009-01-18). "Barack Obama went Hawaiian casual at Occidental College in L.A". Los Angeles Times. 
  10. ^ Celestino: First Date, Italian-Style - Page 1 - Eat+Drink - Los Angeles - LA Weekly
  11. ^ Where's Obama's Favorite Pizza? | ExtraTV.com
  12. ^ Casa Bianaca Pizza (history)

Further reading[edit]