Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Recipe
Chef John Food Wishes
Chicago-style pizza is pizza prepared according to several different styles developed in Chicago. The most famous is deep-dish pizza. The pan in which it is baked gives the pizza its characteristically high edge which gives a lot of space for large amounts of cheese and a chunky tomato sauce.
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.
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 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 corn meal, 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 sometimes is 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; though sometimes, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese is added for extra flavor. 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.