Friday, January 12, 2018

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, or “Pizza” As We Call It In New York

The biggest problem with Chicago-style deep dish pizza, especially for a New Yorker, is that it’s called “pizza.” I’m not sure what else it could’ve, or should’ve been called, but when you grow eating thin-crust, and all of a sudden someone hands you a plate of this, with a fork, and calls it pizza, it’s quite the shock to the system.

Having said that, for the home cook at least, this deep dish pizza is actually much easier to pull off than your classic thin-crust, which really benefits from a 700 F. pizza oven. Another advantage is that we don’t have to worry about too much, or too many toppings, which is usually the fatal flaw of a poorly made NY-style pizza.

One key, besides the buttery, cornmeal-infused crust, is to be sure your sauce is very thick, and flavorful. Some Chicago pizzerias simply use seasoned, coarsely crushed tomatoes, but I prefer using a sauce, as long as it’s reduced at least as much as you see here. Your favorite will work, but just in case you don’t have one of those, here’s a link to our official pizza sauce recipe.

I went with a pretty basic sausage and cheese version here, but you can, and probably should, add other things like peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Same goes for switching up the cheeses, but I do like the combo of fresh, and firm mozzarella. I don’t think it’s quite as good if you use all one, or the other. Regardless, I really hope you give this “pizza” a try soon. Enjoy!


For the dough (enough for a 12-inch cast iron skillet):
1 1/3 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for the pan
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 3/4 cups flour, plus more as needed

For the fillings/toppings (in order of application):
4 ounces sliced provolone
8 ounces fresh mozzarella
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, removed from casing
4 ounces firm, low-moisture mozzarella
3 to 4 cups very thick pizza sauce (I made a double batch)
2 ounces (about 1 cup very finely grated) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil for the top
more cheese and parsley to garnish

- Bake at 425 F. for about 35 minutes

36 comments:

Nick said...

Wonderful recipe John. thank you for sharing it with us. big fan.
love the way you speak lol.

Eileen said...

That looks so delicious!

Unknown said...

At the end, is it possible to lift the pizza to see if the bottom is crispy? I'd like to heat it on the stove if the bottom isn't crisp enough. Thanks again! Long time viewer and I love your work! Can't wait for video 2000!

Cora said...

I enjoyed the making of the Chicago Deep Dish Pizza but as a fifth-generation Chicagoan, I would like to offer some comments.

1) It is sweet or mild Italian sausage, not hot. Lou Malnati covers the bottom of the dough with a slab of sweet sausage, then cheese followed by the sauce. Pepperoni, clams, and pineapple do not belong on it. This is not Bridgeport, CT. This is not California.

2) There are 3 kinds of Chicago Pizza. Besides Deep Dish, there is Stuffed (two layers of crusts, almost like a calzone; only the sauce is on the top crust) and thin crust (almost a cracker-like crust). The latter is like St Louis Pizza. It is cut into squares like St Louis Pizza.

3) Most of the Chicago Pizza restaurants make thin crust pizza. Deep Dish is what you eat on a date if your date is at Uno's (the original). Tourists eat Deep Dish. When I want one, I go to Lou Malnati's

4) New York Pizza is my second choice when I cannot get thin crust Chicago pizza.

James Payne said...

I don't have a bread mixer what would you recommend and can I use ground beef

James Payne said...

I don't have a stand mixer what do you suggest I use I also have a 25 inch cast iron skillet how much should I use

Mark said...

Should make a good Chicago pizza. I'd recommend using the best quality canned tomatoes you can find. Don't make a sauce. Just spread the tomatoes over the top, salt, pepper, oregano, and maybe some parm cheese.

Thomas Hughes said...

Great pizza! It reminds me of the Pizza Uno back in my days in San Fran! Thanks, Chef John!!!

SHar Jeff said...

Thank-you, Chef John, for the recipe!

I spotted it in my recommended videos on Youtube this morning, watched it and decided that tonight was the night for this pizza pie! As an Aussie, I've heard of it but never had it.

It did take the better part of half the day, to make the dough, the pizza sauce and then drive to 4 separate shops so I could get the best ingredients - but I'm sure it's going to be worth it!

My pizza pie has 10 minutes to go in the oven and the family are already circling thanks to the smell coming from my oven. I think we're onto a winner!

JohnnyBee said...

I'm going to make this! Thank you Chef John!

Daniel Halsey said...

Chef John,
Before I found foodwishes, I was one of those people who couldn't even boil water. Now, I cook almost every day! Your videos have helped me believe that even though I had never cooked before, I could learn easily and cook nearly anything. Your videos actually changed my life! So, thank you :)
Also, my foodwish: Philly Cheesesteaks. I would love to see your alternative to using those thinly pre-sliced steakums stuff.

Brad Piper said...

Woo Hoo !!! Thank You Chef John !!

Jake said...

Food wish: Mississippi Pot Roast in the pressure cooker

Bill said...

"The biggest problem with Chicago-style deep dish pizza, ... is that it’s called “pizza.”
I’m not sure what else it could’ve, or should’ve been called, ..."


How about 'pizza pie'?

Roberto said...

At the risk of crossing the line separating constructive criticism and being an Internet Grammar Nazi, I'll say this:

Chi-town is pronounced like "shy town", but it's never spelled that way.

Italians nearly always pronounce every vowel, so provolone is a four syllable word with the last vowel pronounced as if it's a long A.

David Overcash said...

I was going to adapt this recipe for a dairy free tomato pie. Do you think the crust would turn out well if I substituted more olive oil in place of the butter?

KimCooks said...

This looks fantastic, I can't wait to try it! Question first -- approximately how thick is the dough on the bottom of the pan? 1/4 inch? I have a 10" cast-iron pan so trying to scale down just a tad but not sure how much. Thanks Chef John!

Charlotte Ihrke said...

I inspired me to make this today. I am ashamed and didn't have anchovies for the sauce, so substituted fish sauce. I also added mushrooms, green peppers and salami. It was great, thanks for the awesome recipe.

George Roberts said...

Looks delicious cant wait to try it out ...what can i use besides a cast iron pan

Brent Ruhle said...

Hey Chef John, I was very excited about making this recipe this weekend as I have most of your recipes! However I think something may be off with the measurements for the dough. Using two packets of active yeast with only 1/3 cup of warm water just didn’t seem like enough water and made an extremely dry dough that never combined in the mixer. Is it possible these ingredients are off or am I the one missing something?

Jason Black said...

I made this pizza today. I substituted a few splashes of asian fish sauce for the anchovies in the sauce, since I didn't have any anchovies, and added a layer of pepperoni just below the sauce layer. The final pie was amazing. The cornmeal in the crust was a great addition, too.

I agree though, that this dish is so different from NY style pizza that it really should be called something else. When I described it to my daughter, she said, "oh, so it's pizza pot pie." And yeah. I think that's a much better name. :)

Alex James said...

Hi Chef John I don't have a mixer. Can I mix the dough by hand and how would I do that?

The Werewolf said...

Now that you've done an Uno's style Chicago deep dish... do a Giordano's style Chicago style. :)

Same basic concept, but the 'dry' ingredients (cheese, sausage, mushrooms, whatever) are on the bottom, then a second crust layer forming an upper 'bowl' into which the sauce and a lot of Parmesan goes - then fold the crust over as you've done it here, sprinkle with more Parmesan and voila... Even more alien than the Uno's style. :)

I use a springform pan though - much simpler to remove.

Really enjoy your shows - entertaining, fun and I learn a lot from them.

Julie Biddle said...

I plan on adding mushrooms, onions and peppers to mine, but I think I should cook them first to release the moisture. Otherwise I'm pretty sure they would turn this into a soggy mess. What do you recommend Chef John?

34Russelld said...

Hi Chef John. I just made this recipe, and have to say both my wife and myself enjoyed it immensely. Didn't have any cornmeal or polenta so I used some finely ground cornflakes! To my great surprise, it worked! Reduced the amount of sausage and added some chicken. Your sauce is very nice too.

Jason E said...

no comments yet?? i made it and it was awesome. Thanks Chef John!

Sullivan’s Papa said...

Dear CJ,
Corn meal is sold in 24 oz packaging which last a lifetime!
Can I substitute cornmeal with something else?

Yo Brudda! said...

Making this for the second time tonight. You are a genius! Even better, you're making me look like a genius! Thanks again!

Jon Bar said...

if im unable or dont have the time to make the pizza sauce you linked in the blog post, what can i do to replicate a thick sauce if i were to used some canned pizza sauce or tomato sauce?

mainly just reduce it correct? and maybe season it to taste to my liking?

Eric Timm said...

Made this for dinner tonight, including the "secret" pizza sauce. Simply amazing, and equal to any Chicago deep dish pizza. My advice...invite plenty of friends over or you will have leftovers. Thanks, Chef!

hourik kazarian said...

Do you have a weight measurement for the flour?!

Joe Wilson said...

I made this today. I just used two jars of store-bought pizza sauce, and it was great. Maybe someday when I get a better job, I can afford to plop down $25 for a can of tomatoes. Thanks for the recipe!

Lizz Mly said...

Thanks for the recipe - I have recently been experimenting with deep dish but each attempt has been lacking something. I can't believe no one has mentioned Gino's East which has a beautiful, golden, crispy-chewy cornmeal crust. Can't wait to try this on National Pizza Day, February 9!

Gsweb8 said...

Hi John… I have been looking for a great deep dish pizza recipe and I have always placed my trust in your work. Simple question… My cast-iron pan is 13.25 inches. Is that an issue?

Mcdoolson said...

Gsweb8 I wouldn't think that would be too much of an issue. It just won't be quite as deep and you may or may not be able to get the dough all the way to the top of the pan; you'll just fold it before it reaches the top if that's the case.

A1stDawn said...

I'm from Chicago as well and I LOVE DEEP DISH! I couldn't care less if it is a touristy thing, I love it. If you have concerns @ whether the middle is done or not, it is in cast iron so can continue heating on stove top. If you are unsure, just go in with a long spatula , raise it up a bit and check..I have never had any toppings other than hot sausage and tomatoes. I wouldn't buy fresh mozz ever. What I do buy is sliced mozz from the deli, along with provolone.