BRINGING CHICAGO TO TEXAS
Trial 1: Initiated by an intense craving for Chicago Style pizza and being about 1000 miles from the Windy City, Bob and I took on the challenge of learning the tricks of the trade ourselves. This inverted pizza style is very unique. After the dough is spread out in the pan, the mozzarella cheese (pre-sliced squares) are evenly placed on top. Next, all the toppings are thrown on. Our toppings of choice are always Italian sausage and black olives. Finally, throw on the sauce. Having a vegetarian in the family, our smallest spring-form pan is always for a cheese and black olive pizza.
This trial was pretty good. Kind of greasy from the sausage. I suggest cooking the sausage prior to topping and draining some of the grease. First dough was pretty crispy.
A key to success is perfecting the dough. It takes time to master this process, and every trial will turn out slightly different. It is helpful to have a kitchen-aid, but I also enjoyed my most recent trial hand kneading the dough. Below is a dough failure when I used WAY too much.
Trial 2: St. Louis Zoo showing of Taming of the Shrew with a Pizza picnic.
Notice the sides of the crust. This was made with Whole Foods Wheat dough…..
I am not sure whether I should call this pizza or really thick saucy bread.
STILL TASTED GOOD.
Trial 3: Fourth of July Party….Pizza and Samuel Adams
These were by far the BEST yet. The key to making this dough perfect was sprinkling cornmeal on the olive oiled pans and brushing olive oil on the crust before and at the halfway cooking point. We made three pizzas to feed our guests.
Trial 4: WHAT NOT TO DO….
The first trial at my apartment in College Station did not go as planned. The dough was hand kneaded and turned out well. The issue here was my soupy sauce. I made the mistake of adding water and forgetting to drain the canned tomatoes.Also, the spring-form pan decided to break, so the pizza was stuck inside the pan until we finagled it open.
Drain some of the excess sauce, and it can still look BEAUTIFUL!
OUR PIZZA SAUCE:
1 twenty-eight ounce can tomatoes (drained)
1 sixteen ounce can tomato sauce
1 six ounce can tomato paste
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons mixed Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon white sugar
Combine all ingredients, crushing tomatoes with a potato masher, fork, or the back of a wooden spoon.
Allow to sit half an hour or more to develop flavor.
Spread on pizza and bake according to your favorite recipe.
At least enough sauce for a 14-inch pizza or two medium sized pizzas.
YMMV (your mileage may vary)
Trial 5: The REAL deal… Giordano’s Restaurant and Pizzeria. 1 hour wait, but they start cooking your pizza and it’s ready for consumption right when you are seated. I liked that hour of hungry anticipation.
The real deal was yummy, but after spending so many hours learning to cook these delicious pizzas myself, you can call me crazy but MY PIZZAS ARE BETTER! May have something to do with the amount of love Bob and I put into our homemade Chicago Style pizza.
I will say, there’s nothing like enjoying a slice of pie after a day of shopping on Michigan Avenue. After living in Illinois for eight years, I have tried several different deep dish pizzas and look forward to my next visit where I can compare some more!
You should check out Gino’s East pizzeria if you ever get the chance to visit the windy city. There’s Graffiti all over the walls….. REALLY cool.