The History of Deep Dish Pizza
Deep dish is a hearty, classic, long appreciated, and well-loved style of pizza, which originated in Chicago in the 1940’s. Although it is very distinct from the authentic, original Neapolitan recipes from the heart of Italy, this pie is just as delicious, and is not for the faint of heart. It is a meal in itself and is bursting with flavor. Traditionally, it is a thick, coarse, 2-4 inch deep crust, piled with thick, gooey cheese, and topped with big chunks of fresh tomato sauce. Of course, it is often additionally topped with sausage, onions, mushrooms, and peppers.
Traditional Italian pizza made its way to Chicago in the late 1930’s, but in the early 1940’s, creativity abounded and what is known as deep dish or Chicago-style pizza was born. What is recognized as the original creator of the deep dish is a long-standing restaurant called Pizzeria Uno. Since the birth of the original deep dish pizza, restaurants all over Chicago, and eventually over much of the world, began popping up with their own variations of this new, unique style. Today, it has become a classic. Other famous deep dish pizza restaurants include Gino’s Pizza, Giordano’s, Edwardo’s, Connie’s, Nancy’s, and Lou Malnati’s. In the 1970’s, a new variation of the deep dish became extremely popular and is now found on many different forms of pizza. The stuffed crust was revolutionary, as it took the amount of cheese to a whole new level. Not only was the cheese added to the top of the pizza, but also stuffed inside the crust. This variation became a hit, and still is today.
To properly create a traditional Chicago-style deep dish pizza, the crust must be formed into a very thick, dense layer of dough, which is then stretched and molded onto a deep, round pan and pulled up on the sides to create the depth. The depth of the pizza can vary depending on how many toppings you want to pile on, and how thick you want it. The crust is first parbaked (a cooking method in which the crust is partially cooked then removed from the oven and cooled, in order to keep the dough soft, thick, and chewy) before the addition of the toppings. Once removed from the oven, the parbaked dough will be covered in shredded mozzarella, meats, and veggies. Once the desired ingredients have been added to the dough, a chunky, fresh tomato sauce, or simply chopped tomatoes, will be smothered over the top. Grated cheese is then sprinkled over the sauce. Grab your knife and fork for this meal – it may be impossible to eat it without them! And don’t forget a napkin!
Chicago-style pizza is delicious and rich in flavor, and is an endeavor and feat to complete. Chicago citizens are proud to be the legacy of this notorious pizza style. Try this deep dish pizza recipe for yourself and indulge in the history, flavor, and pride that is Chicago.