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Feb 22

Chicago-Style Pizza

Chicago has long been famous for its pizza. So famous, in fact, that a certain type of pizza is known as Chicago-Style Pizza. The term “Chicago-Style” sometimes refers to stuffed pizzas and a variety of uniquely Chicago thin crust pizzas, but a real Chicago-Style pizza is a deep-dish pan pizza. In order to be a real Chicago-Style pizza, the pizza must be deep dish.

The Chicago-Style deep dish pizza was originally created at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago in 1943. That is undisputed; however, the creator has a bit of dispute. Two different people have been credited with creating the deep dish pizza, Ike Sewell and Rudy Malnati. Ike Sewell, a former University of Texas football player, founded Pizzeria Uno, and later Pizzeria Due, and so is a likely source of the creation that is known and loved the world over. However, in 1956, the Chicago Daily News attributed the delicious creation to Rudy Malnati, the original chef at Pizzeria Uno. Who really created the pizza style, we will probably never know. We can, however, be grateful for the creation.

The deep dish pizzas created at Pizzeria Uno are really quite simple. They are made with a simple, thick layer of dough that contains both cornmeal and olive oil. This dough is draped across a deep, round pan and pulled up the sides of the pan. Following this step, the dough is partially baked in a pan that has been heavily oiled to create a fried effect on the outside of the crust. The dough is partially baked prior to adding toppings in order to make it fluffier.

After the crust has been partially baked, the toppings are added. Cheese, sliced mozzarella, goes on the fluffy dough first. Following that, the toppings requested by the buyer get piled on. These typically include meats like Italian Sausage and vegetables such as onion and bell peppers. After the toppings, a thick, chunky tomato sauce is added on top of all of the other toppings. The sauce is made of crushed or puréed tomatoes and is uncooked prior to being added to the pizza. After the sauce, a blend of grated cheeses is added to the top to finish it all off. The pizza is then baked.

A pound of cheese is generally used on each pizza. These pizzas, as delightful as they are, are extremely messy. The same gooeyness and thickness that makes them so great also makes them super messy. For this reason, Chicago-Style pizzas are generally eaten with a fork and knife.

Famous Chicago-Style pizzerias include Uno’s (1943) and it’s companion Due’s (1955); The Original Gino’s Pizza (1954), Gino’s East (1966); Pizano’s (currently owned by Rudy Malnati Junior); and Lou Malnati’s (owned by another of Rudy Malnati’s sons).

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