When one thinks of pizza, one often pictures a flat dough with sauce, cheese, and toppings cut into triangular slices. However, Chicago would beg to differ.
In Chicago, pizza can take a different form. Instead of thin crusts and pan pizzas, Chicago-style pizza often involves a delicious deep-dish pie.
What Is a Chicago-Style Pizza?
Unbeknownst to many, there are actually two types of Chicago-style pizzas. The first one is the more common one, which is the deep-dish pizza. While the thick cheese and tomato deep-dish pie is most associated with Chicago, native Chicagoans prefer a different pizza type.
This Chicago-style pizza is called a tavern-style pizza. Unlike the famous Chicago deep-dish, this pizza is thin and often has a crispier crust than New York-style pizza. The notable difference in tavern-style pizza is that it is cut into rectangles rather than triangles for easy sharing.
While both types of Chicago pizza are different, they have one thing in common. And that is, you can’t fold it up like you would a New York-style pizza.
History of Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
While tavern-style pizza is more popular among Chicago locals, the deep-dish pizza is the one most associated with the city. But how did this style of pizza become popular?
According to most accounts, deep-dish pizza became a thing in Chicago in 1943. The invention of the famous Chicago deep-dish pizza is credited to the Pizzeria Uno founder, Ike Sewell. However, this was contested by a 1956 Chicago Daily article that said that Rudy Malnati, the original pizza chef of Pizzeria Uno, was the one who developed the recipe.
Additionally, while Pizzeria Uno was known to invent the deep-dish, descendants of Saverio Rosati claimed that the deep-dish had been part of the Rosati’s Authentic Chicago Pizza’s menu since 1926.
How Is Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza Made?
Typically, one would make a traditional pizza by rolling down some pizza dough into a flat circle, spreading the sauce on the dough, and adding a variety of toppings. However, the Chicago-style deep-dish pizza takes on a different approach.
In a deep-dish pizza, one would use a deep iron skillet or a round steel pan, which is more similar to a traditional pie pan than a standard pizza pan. The pizza chef would then press the dough up to the sides of the pan to create a bowl-like structure.
Since the baking time for a deep-dish is longer than a traditional pizza, cheese and other toppings would burn if they were on the pizza’s top layer. And that’s why the toppings are instead layered upside down, with the cheese covering the crust. The chef would then assemble meat toppings on top of the cheese layer, followed by other toppings, such as mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers. Lastly, an uncooked tomato sauce would serve as the final layer. However, Parmesan cheese would sometimes also be sprinkled on top.
Whether served as a thin crust or a deep-dish, pizza is pizza. And it doesn’t matter what form they come in or what toppings they have. What’s important is that anyone should be able to enjoy pizza the way they want.
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