Chicago pizza

Chicago Pizza is a deep dish pizza originating from Chicago, Illinois. It is one of the most popular styles of pizza in the United States and is known for its thick crust and generous toppings.

What is deep dish pizza and why is it so popular in Chicago

deep-dish pizza

Deep dish pizza is a style of pizza that originated in Chicago. It is made with a thick crust and is loaded with toppings. The most popular topping for this pizza is sausage, but you can also add pepperoni, onions, and green peppers. This pizza is best served with a side of ranch dressing or garlic bread.

The popularity of deep dish pizza in Chicago can be attributed to its unique taste and its ability to satisfy hunger. This pizza is perfect for any occasion, whether it be a casual night in or a more formal gathering. No matter what the occasion, deep-dish pizza is sure to please.

The origin of the deep dish pizza in Chicago

Neapolitan immigrants, like other Europeans in the late 1800s and early 1900s, arrived in the United States in search of industrial employment. Following in the footsteps of New York, Chicago soon became home to a flourishing community of first- and second-generation descendants looking for the thin pizzas that represented their cultural and culinary heritage.

However, two entrepreneurs, Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo decided to do something different: create an Italian-American version of pizza. In 1943, they launched Pizzeria Uno in Chicago’s Near North Side area, inventing a new type of pizza with a deeper dish, crunchier crust, and inverted layers—far from the traditional Neapolitan variant.

When you cut a deep dish pizza into slices, your knife sinks through layers of meat and veggies, thick tomato sauce, soft mozzarella cheese, and finally a firm cracker-like crust. The cake-shaped pan is first coated in olive oil before being topped with a white and semolina flour dough combination that is pressed against the circular bottom and edges of the deep pan.

The dough is lightly fried in olive oil during the baking process, resulting in a golden crunch. A layer of sliced mozzarella is covered with vegetables and meats, usually Italian sausage, then topped with a sweet layer of crushed tomatoes before being baked. The meat, vegetable, sauce, and crust combine their tastes due to the reversed layers of ingredients.

Sewell and Riccardo wanted to make a pizza that was unlike any other, so they combined culinary artistry with their love of history. And Chicagoans embraced it (literally). Soon, deep dish pizza—once thought an immigrant custom—became a symbol of Chicago’s culture.

Toppings commonly used on a Chicago style deep dish pizza

Chicago pizza toppings

In Chicago, typical toppings such as sausage, pepperoni, onions, and mushrooms are also common; however, according to a 2013 poll, while the most popular pizza topping across the rest of the United States is pepperoni, in Chicago it’s Italian sausage. Many local pizzerias provide alternative toppings based on local cuisines such as Italian beef and giardinera.

Recipes for different sauces for Chicago pizza

Cheese Sauce

Cheese Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and salt and pepper until smooth. Add the milk and continue to stir until the mixture thickens. Add the cheese and continue to stir until melted.

Pizza Sauce

Pizza Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 (28 ounces) can of crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Alfredo Sauce

Alfredo SauceIngredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the garlic and flour and continue to stir until smooth. Add the milk and continue to stir until the mixture thickens. Add the cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Olive Oil and Garlic Sauce

Olive Oil and Garlic Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the olive oil and garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add the oregano, basil, salt, and pepper and continue to cook for about 1 minute.

Creamy Tomato Sauce

Creamy Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 (28 ounces) can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.


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Tips on how to get the perfect deep dish pizza crust

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, and sugar. Slowly add in the melted butter until the mixture is crumbly.

3. Press the dough into an ungreased 9-inch pie pan, being sure to evenly distribute it across the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

4. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool while you prepare the filling.

5. To make the filling, simply combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

6. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and spread evenly.

7. Bake the pizza for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is set and the crust is golden brown.

8. Let cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

How to serve your deep dish pizza

deep-dish pizza 

Once your deep dish pizza is done cooking, you will need to let it cool for a few minutes before serving. This will allow the cheese to set and the sauce to thicken slightly. Once it is cooled, you can cut it into slices and enjoy it! If you have leftovers, you can store them in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!

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