Dish of the day: Chicago-style Pizza
Pizzas might originate from Italy, and the immigrants brought this delicious fast food to America, but in the land of the free and home of the brave, pizza is not just a dish. It has evolved into a religion. Friends and families argue over which pizza joint makes the tastiest sauce, the best dough, the freshest ingredients. People are willing to go the distance just to get to their favourite pizzas. Different states in America have even invented their own version of this classic dish.
While the pizzas we know, adore and see most of the time are thin-crusted, resembling a version that look like flatbreads with toppings, in Chicago, the locals have come up with their own style of pizza, unique to the region. Chicago-style pizza is also known as deep-dish pizza. As the name suggests, this pizza looks radically different from the usual ones. It looks more like a pie, being much taller and thicker in appearance and it is baked in a special round cast iron pan in the shape that is similar to a cake pan.
Even though the pizza looks thick, the crust itself is actually rather thin. The dough is pressed into the steel pan, as well as along the sides of the pan, so that the ingredients are held together by the baked dough. This process is similar to the making of a pie crust.
Ingredients are then layered on to make up the height of the pizza. The first topping to go onto the bottom layer is actually cheese, and that usually is mozzarella, which gives a beautiful stringy and chewy effect to the pizza. The reason the cheese goes in first is due to the long baking time of a deep dish pizza. Being thicker and higher, the time it takes for the pizza to cook it relatively longer. If the cheese is placed on top like a regular pizza, it will end up being burnt.
After that first layering, meat element, such as sausage, bacon, salami or pepperoni, is added. Following this, other ingredients such as mushrooms, other types of cheeses, bell peppers, herbs, onions, and tomato sauce are layered on, creating a tall pie-like pizza that will be baked slowly in the oven.
Not only can you find deep dish pizzas in Chicago, but this state also has its own version of thin-crust pizza, which is crunchy and usually cut into squares. Locals actually prefer this to the thick pie-like pizza.
Crunchy thin-crust pizzas are also popular in other parts of the world. While some people might not care so much for the pizza dough and its thickness, they are very particular about the toppings that go on the pizza. This is why restaurants are moving away from the good old cheese and tomato sauce and introducing creative dishes such as using guanciale and egg, broccolini and sausages as well as vegetarian versions like pumpkin and pistachio to appeal to different clienteles.
Nowadays you can find pizza anywhere and eat it any time. It is comfort food, party food and also celebratory food. Epic events like the Super Bowl or the finale of Game of Thrones is not enjoyable unless pizzas are ordered, delivered and savoured. After a night of partying, or after a rescue mission, if you are like the Ninja Turtles, nothing beats a generous slice of piping hot pizza. It is truly one of the best inventions in the food world. Are you craving pizza already? Find piping-hot pizza on foodpanda!