Also known as deep-dish pizza, Chicago pizza originated in the windy city in 1943. But the actual inventor of the dish is disputed. The first Chicago pizza was served at Pizzeria Uno and, depending on whom you ask, it was the brainchild of either Ike Sewall or chef Rudy Malnati.
The pizza was a hit, and Pizzeria Uno opened Pizzeria Due, which was followed by Gino’s Pizza, and then Gino’s East. Rudy Malnati’s son, Leo, opened a pizzeria in the suburbs in 1971, and Chicago pizza started to spread throughout the country.
Today, you can probably find a pizzeria in your neighborhood that serves them. And you can even order Chicago pizza online from Lou Malnati’s
To make a Chicago pizza at home, you’ll need a 14″ deep-dish pizza pan or a couple of cake pans. One of the best parts of a Chicago pizza is the crust, which is both flaky and crispy. Your pie will turn out the best if you make your own pizza dough. And having a dough hook really helps.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine two packages of quick rise dry yeast with two cups of warm water. Once the yeast has dissolved, add:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 TBSPs olive oil
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 cups flours
Beat these ingredients for about ten minutes. Then add 2-1/2 cups more flour to the dough and beat with a dough hook for another ten or fifteen minutes. Dust a countertop or cutting board with flour, put the pizza dough on top, and then cover it with a large metal bowl or a damp dish towel.
When the dough has doubled in size, beat it down and let it rise again. Punch it down once more and divide in half if you‘re using cake pans.
Preheat your over to 475. Then oil a 14″ deep-dish pizza pan or two cake pans. Don’t be stingy — this is how the crust gets crispy. Place the dough in the pan. Oil your fingers and push the dough into the pan until it’s 1/8 inch thick and goes all the way up the sides.
Unlike a conventional pizza, a Chicago pizza has the cheese at the bottom. So start assembling your pie by covering the bottom with sliced mozzarella or provolone cheese. Then add a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes — San Marzanos are best — and a teaspoon each of basil and oregano. The next ingredient, garlic, is traditionally added crush, but we prefer it minced. Add to taste, or substitute garlic powder.
You can add any of your favorite pizza toppings, but the classic Chicago Pizza uses sautéed Italian sausage, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, and green peppers. Place the other ingredients on top of the tomatoes and then sprinkle with about 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for about 35 minutes.
For a healthier pizza, substitute broccoli for the sausage and pepperoni. And for more vegetarian pizza toppings read best vegetable pizza toppings.