Deep Dish Pizza is Numero Uno – Illinois

No other place in the country embraces deep dish pizza like Chicago. This delicious amalgam of buttery crust, gooey mozzarella cheese

Deep Dish Pizza - Illinois

and tangy tomato sauce — a definite knife and fork affair — has been around since at least the 1940s but who first created the dish is bitterly disputed in pizza-centric circles. Pizzeria Uno claims that proprietors Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo came up with the recipe but no documentation exists to support this claim, according to the Chicago Tribune. Two employees of Pizzeria Uno, Rudy Malnati, Sr., and Alice Mae Redmond may have been the true inventors. Redmond went on to work at a pizza joint called Gino’s East started in the ‘60s and Rudy’s son started Lou Malnati’s in 1971. Got that straight? No matter. While each of these three establishments has its own fan base, they form a pinnacle of pizza perfection in Chicagoland.

Even if you live hundreds of miles from Michigan Avenue you can make this cheesealicious dish. All it takes is a bit of time, with regular ingredients you can find anywhere.

The not-so-secret ingredient in the dough is corn meal, which provides nice texture and crunch. After the dough rises, spread it in a deep dish pan or cast iron skillet pinching up the sides to form a crust. Deep dish pizz dough

In deep dish, the mozzarella goes first. . . .

Deep Dish pizza mozzarella goes first

…. then the toppings (we made ours half cheese, half pepperoni, green pepper and onion) …

Deep dish pizza toppings

…. then the sauce.

Deep dish pizza w sauce

Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.


Mmmmmm, aren’t you hungry?

Deep dish pizza

Enjoy a slice of deep dish before or after the many performances at Chicago Jazz Festival, August 28-31, 2014.

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print
Makes two 12-inch pizzas


For dough:

  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

For sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon red wine
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cheese and toppings:

  • 1 lb. sliced mozzarella
  • 8 oz. sliced pepperoni (optional)
  • 8 oz. mushrooms thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 green pepper thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 onion thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan


For dough: Mix yeast, one quarter of a cup of warm water, one quarter of a cup of flour and sugar in a bowl. Cover and let stand in a warm place for 15 to 20 minutes. Mix in 3 cups flour, the cornmeal, salt, one cup warm water and the olive oil until well combined. Cover with a tea towel and let stand for about 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.

For sauce: While the dough is rising, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a deep sauce pan. Add onion, saute until translucent. Add garlic, cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes. Cook for one to two minutes. Add tomatoes, wine and sugar. Cook on medium heat until boiling, then simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool.

Once the dough is risen: Punch down and knead for about 3 minutes, adding a bit more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Divide into two balls. Place into pizza pans or cast iron skillets, pinching up the sides to form a crust. Let stand for 10 minutes before adding the toppings.

Finishing the pizza: Layer the sliced mozzarella onto the dough, then add meat and vegetables if desired. Spoon the sauce on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake in preheated 475 degree oven for 25 minutes or until the crust is browned and the cheese is bubbly.