Chicago Pizza

I live in Chicago, and I would be remiss if I didn't write about pizza at least once. The same probably goes for hotdogs, but that will be another time. Right now, let's talk about the amazing-ness that is Chicago style pizza. If you're ever in town, a personal preference for pizza is Lou Malnati's. You have Giordano's all around, and Pequod's, and Uno, but I still say Lou's tops them all. What makes Chicago pizza, Chicago pizza? Here we are known for our deep dish. When we say deep, we're talking a minimum of 1 and a half inches, giving the crust a high ridge and extra depth for lots and lots of cheese and chunky tomato sauce. The deep dish pans are round, more like pie pans than pizza pans. Pizza pie?

Most places in Chi-town also serve thin crust. If I'm not at Lou's, I prefer the thin crust. It's characteristic of Chicago as well, but not so much outside of Chicago. A true Chicago style pizza is actually built "upside-down." At first, that made no sense to me. Wuddya do, lay out the toppings, the cheese, the sauce, then the crust and try to flip it over without losing any of it? That would take skill. Unfortunately, it doesn't take that level of skill. The crust is still on the bottom, but the toppings and cheese are applied first, with the sauce spread out on top. We're talking very liberal amounts of toppings and cheese, too. They have to fill the dish! It also means bake times are longer, but more worth it, too.

Let's be sure we understand the difference between deep dish, stuffed pizza, and stacked pizza. Stuffed and stacked pizza can be used interchangeably, as there is often little difference. People confuse these types of pizzas with deep dish, but they are not. Stuffed/stacked pizza is cooked in the same deep dish style as original deep dish, and in fact are often deeper than deep dish. However the ingredients go in the common order. Sauce, cheese, toppings. Occasionally stuffed pizza will have another layer of crust on top, which is where it differs from stacked. Although more sauce is added on top as it cooks, sneakily trying to be more like deep dish. We all know now, they're just not the same. Don't get me wrong, both styles are wonderful! Super tasty. Still, though, not the same. Pequod's is actually more of a stacked pizza style in general. Giordano's brought fame to the stuffed pizza.

I'd like to also add a note about thin crust pizza. It's well known throughout Chicago and the Midwest. It is NOT the same as New York style pizza. New York style has a floppy, as I like to call it, crust. Thin crust pizza has a defining crunch.

There's some debate as to who invented this famous deep-dish style pizza. It's claimed to have been invented by a former University of Texas football star at Uno's in the 1940s. However, the chef at that restaurant was Rudy Malnati, who others claim invented the recipe. Either way, note those names... Do they sound familiar? Like perhaps introduction paragraph familiar? Chicago's claim to fame, at least we know it was invented here.


    Mary Hildebrandt
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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