Homemade Pizza: Chicago-Style Deep Dish

Our homemade pizza efforts have always been of the thin-crusted variety. Living in Chicago, if we have a taste for a deep-dish, we reach for the takeout menus. But The Paupered Chef blog has come up with a recipe that has us itching to make our own.

More on that in a minute. But first, a few words about our hometown pie ...

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You'll generally find three variations of "Chicago-style" pizza, all of which are baked in a deep, circular pan and generally eaten with a knife and fork: deep-dish, stuffed and pan.

Deep-dish pizza, as The Paupered Chef points out, actually has a fairly thin crust that is pulled up onto the sides of the pan to give it some height and contain the ingredients. The crust is topped with cheese, then meat and/or vegetables, and finally a sauce of crushed or pureed tomatoes (usually uncooked) and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and seasonings.

Stuffed pizzas are similar to deep dish, but have an additional layer of dough placed between the meat/vegetable and sauce layers. Pan pizzas have a much thicker, almost focaccia-like crust, and the sauce is sometimes placed under the cheese and toppings.

The Paupered Chef's recipe follows the deep-dish style. They followed some recommendations from Peter Reinhart's American Pie including using a cake pan instead of a cast-iron skillet for a crispier crust. They also used fresh mozzarella, baking it on top of the crust alone for a few minutes and then wiping up excess moisture with a paper towel before adding the remaining ingredients and returning to the oven. Great tips!

And the next time we hear someone call deep-dish pizza sloppy or unrefined, we're showing them a picture of that gorgeous crust.

This looks like a great base of a recipe for all kinds of topping experiments. While we're on the subject, we'll just go ahead and suggest one of our favorite combinations for a deep-dish pie: spinach and green olives, with sausage on half if you're sharing with a meat-loving friend. The best part about making it at home? We'll always get our order just right.

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Related: Recipe: Homemade Thin Crust Pizza

(Images: The Paupered Chef, used with permission)

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