Chicago-style pizza

Pizza:  New York vs. Chicago, part 2

Originally appeared in the November 11, 2010 edition of the Southside Times.

Thick, flaky crust, piled with layers of mozzarella, Parmesan, savory Italian sausage, and topped with juicy tomatoes.  As far as pizza goes, it’s like what Malone told Eliot Ness in The Untouchables:  “That’s the Chicago way.”  This installment is dedicated to Chicago-style pizza—the deep-dish nemesis to the New York-style pies.  Read more after the jump: Pizzeria Uno (whose original location still lies in the heart of the Windy City) is considered to be the fountainhead of the distinctive pizza known as Chicago-style, which has an equally endearing culinary history to its New York antithesis.

Our American affinity for pizza originated when GIs returned from WWII, eager to replicate the delicacies they’d experienced in Italy.  You see, back in the 1930s, long-time friends Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo had the idea of opening an eatery.  Ric was called away to war; but upon his return, he and Ike not only collaborated on a restaurant, but on a new style of pizza.  Thus, the birth of Pizzeria Uno and the deep-dish pizza.

I’ve heard it referred to as “lasagna with crust,” but Chicago-style pizza makes no apologies about its hearty composition—a pizza you can proudly eat with a knife and fork.  That’s the Chicago way.

Deep-dish, Chicago-style pizza

Yield:  1, 14-inch pizza


  • 1 ½ packages active dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water (105° F – 115° F)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 ½ cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon iodized salt
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup warm water








  • 1, 28-ounce can plum tomatoes (juice drained, and crushed by hand)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • To taste, kosher salt
  • To taste, freshly cracked pepper
  • 10 ounces mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan
  • ½ pound Italian sausage, casing removed
  • As needed, olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 475° F.  In a bowl, combine tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.  For dough, dissolve yeast in ½ cup of warm water.  Add sugar, stir and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 ½ cups flour, salt, and the cornmeal.  Make a well in center of the flour, and add in yeast mixture, oil, and warm water (add incrementally).  Mix until dough comes together and doesn’t stick to sides of the bowl.

2.  Knead dough on a well-floured surface until smooth and soft (about 5 minutes); use additional flour if necessary.  Place dough in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until doubled in size (about 1 ½ hours).

3.  Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface; knead for 2 more minutes.  Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.  Thoroughly oil a round 14-inch (diameter), by 2-inch-deep pizza pan.  Place dough in pan, and spread with fingers and palm.  Work dough into the corners and up along the wall, making a border up to the edge of the pan.  Dock bottom of dough with a fork, brush with oil, and par-bake for no more than 4 minutes.  Brush with oil once more after removing.

4.  Layer mozzarella slices along bottom of crust.  Spoon crushed-tomato mixture over mozzarella, and sprinkle on Parmesan cheese.  Tear sausage into pieces and spread out evenly.  Drizzle olive oil over top.  Bake at 475° F on the bottom rack for 5 minutes, then move up to next rack for 30 minutes until crust is lightly golden and sausage is cooked.

Published in: on November 11, 2010 at 6:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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