|Place of origin||United States|
|Region or state||Chicago, Illinois|
|Main ingredients||Pizza dough, tomato sauce, cheese|
|Part of a series on|
Chicago-style pizza is pizza prepared according to several different styles developed in Chicago, widely referred to simply as deep dish pizza due to its cooking style. The pan in which it is baked gives the pizza its characteristically high edge which provides ample space for large amounts of cheese and a chunky tomato sauce. Chicago-style pizza may be prepared in deep-dish style and as a stuffed pizza.
According to Tim Samuelson, Chicago's official cultural historian, there is not enough documentation to determine with certainty who invented Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. It is often reported that Chicago-style deep-dish pizza was invented at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago, in 1943, by Uno's founder Ike Sewell. However, a 1956 article from the Chicago Daily News asserts that Uno's original pizza chef Rudy Malnati developed the recipe, and Michele Mohr from the Chicago Tribune reports that the menu at Rosati's Authentic Chicago Pizza has included deep-dish since it opened in 1926, according to the descendants of Saverio Rosati.
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.
Deep-dish pizza is baked in an iron skillet or a round, steel pan that is more similar to a cake or pie pan than a typical pizza pan. The pan is oiled 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 cornmeal, 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 (typically 30-45 minutes), 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 sometimes is in a solid patty-like layer. Other toppings such as onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers are then also used.
It is typical that when ordered for carry-out or delivery, the pizza is uncut, as this prevents moisture from the sauce and toppings from soaking into the crust, causing the pie to become soggy.
Deep-dish pizza from Lou Malnati's
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. Palese based his creation on his mother's recipe for scarciedda, an Italian Easter pie from his hometown of Potenza. 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, primarily so that the pizza does not explode. Usually, but not always, tomato sauce is ladled over the top crust before the pizza is baked.
According to GrubHub data and Chicago Pizza Tours, thin-crust outsells the more widely known deep-dish style among locals. Technomics food industry researcher Darren Tristano has questioned GrubHub's conclusion on the basis of the delivery service's user demographics, and NPR noted that the data would not include information on several deep-dish chains that are not on GrubHub.
The typical toppings commonly found on pizzas in most of North America (i.e. sausage, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, etc) are also standards in Chicago area pizzerias; however, a survey in 2013 indicated that while the most popular pizza topping in the rest of most of the United States, is pepperoni, in Chicago, the most popular topping is Italian sausage. In addition to standard toppings, many local pizzerias also offer Chicago-specific topping options such as Italian Beef and giardinera.
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