Sunday, June 20, 2010

Real Chicago Pizza in Kinnelon!

Ted's Chicago Style Pizza

Pizza! Pizza! Pizza! Specifically, Real Chicago Pizza! In Kinnelon no less!

Of course,you have to make it yourself...

Oh, I like all kinds of Pizza.

NY style, thin crust, fold-each-slice-in-half pizza.

Napoli style Margherita with only the most artisanal ingredients.

Yes. I like them all.

But, I have a special place in my heart for the real, original, Chicago style pizza that came out of the real original Pizzeria Uno and Due in Chicago in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies, before all of the Uno’s Chicago Grill nonsense and fake Chicago style pizza in every mall. That stuff gives real Chicago Pizza a bad name.

They say Lou Malnati’s in Chicago is good, don’t know -- haven’t been there, but it could be, ‘cause Rudy Malnati, the father, was the original chef at Pizzeria Uno back in the day.

Anyway, I have tried to reproduce the crust and flavor for-it-seems-like-forever, with tasty and edible results, but NO SUCCESS, until NOW.

I have always known the crust is very short, that is, high in oil, and not much leavened, that is low in yeast, but I did run across a number of recipes on the ‘net which now bring me to within a hairsbreadth of the real thing, or, anyway, as real as several decades of distant memory will allow.

The real Chicago crust is somewhere between a pie crust and and a biscuit, I think, flaky, with a good crunch on the bottom, and little crumbly up from the bottom.

I am going to share this recipe with you all in the hopes that you will make it and I will get feedback! I do hope it is liked, but I would appreciate any suggestions from the Chicago-Pizza-Specific knowledgeable among you. If there are any!

The Crust:

Ted's real Chicago Pizza dough ball4 cups All Purpose flour
1/2  to 1 cup fine cornmeal
1-1/2 cups or a tiny bit more water at 95 to 100 DEG F
½ cup corn oil and 2 TBS olive oil
1 TSP salt (I like sea salt)
1/8 TSP active dry yeast, and no more
Note: This recipe makes enough dough for 2 pizzas

Bloom the yeast in the warm water for 10 minutes. We need the yeast not only for the little bit of leavening we get,but also for the flavor.

Also you may as well get the oven going at 400 deg F.

Using a stand mixer or a bread machine mix all of the ingredients until a fully mixed ball forms, and then stop. Do not knead the dough further – we do not want the gluten to develop tough, stretchy dough.

Store in a covered, olive oiled bowl for 4 hours to overnight at room temperature.

This recipe makes the appropriate amount of dough for 2 standard, 14” high-sided Chicago pizza pans. I used a non-stick Chicago metallic pan that I got from Amazon for 12 bucks. Worked very well. I remember the originals as being well-seasoned black steel.

Push out the dough ball with your hands into the pan, pressing it flat until the bottom is evenly covered as well as 1-1/4” to 1-1/2" up the sides.

Prick the dough with a fork across the bottom, since we are going to blind bake the dough for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Put the crust in for 20 to 25  minutes, or until the thinnest crust on the bottom starts to turn a little bit golden.

The Cheese and Tomato and Sausage:

1-1/2 to 2 lbs low moisture whole milk or part skim, your choice, mozzarella, grated, or Fresh mozzarella 2-1/4 lbs, grated, see note below.
1 cup mild Provolone or Fontina cheese, grated.
2 cups good quality Reggiano Parmesan, grated.
8 oz Italian sausage gently cooked until barely done, and separated into smallish, ½” grains.
1 to 2 32 oz cans whole Plum or Roma tomatoes in juice; I like Tuttorosso brand.
2 TBS Italian Herbs crushed.
3 TBS olive oil
Optional (non-traditional, but tastes good): Add 1/2 chopped sweet onion to the tomatoes sauteed below.
Note: This topping list makes enough for 1 pizza
Note: I prefer fresh mozzarella's flavor to packaged pre-grated, but it is too wet. What I do is to slice and dry the fresh cheese and then nuke it with the other cheeses for a minute or 2 until it gives up its water, which I pour off, leaving sweet, fresh tasting cheese that is dry. Stir to mix. Then allow to cool on a big plate. When cool, dice into cubes. Do not overcook.

The sausage above is optional, too, of course, but we always got it with sausage, and that's the way I like it still.

Separate and drain the juice from the tomatoes, crush the whole tomatoes with your hand, drain the juice with the rest, and sauté the tomatoes at med. low heat in 3 TBS olive oil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add optional onion if desired. I do.

Add crushed Italian Herbs to the tomato juice and add to the pan with the whole tomatoes and continue to cook on low until sauce thickens. You can add a couple of cloves, of crushed garlic if you like, or more. Set aside.


Mix the cheeses together and add ½ to the pizza first, layering evenly over the dough, trying to leave no dough uncovered.

Sprinkle the sausage around.

Add the tomatoes and enough of the sauce in clumps around the pizza leaving about ½ the pizza uncovered by tomato.

Assembled: Ted's real Chicago PizzaCover with the rest of the cheese.

Lower the heat to 350 DEG F. and cook the pizza in the middle of the oven for aprox. 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has begun to bubble and turn a bit golden.

Remove. Let sit for 5 minutes.

I then slide mine out onto a serving platter.

You can please yourself!

Slice and eat!

OK, let me know what you think.


Emma likes Ted's real Chicago Pizza!

PS: I remember in my senior year of high school, having just gotten my driver's license, as had our friends, driving into Chicago as a group on a Friday or Saturday night, to the near North Side where Uno was located,

Trying to find a place to park, going down the steps into a lower than sidewalk (basement) location,

Smelling that indescribable combination of cheese, cooked dough, sausage and tomato, garlic, and olive oil,

Trying to get the waitress to serve us beer by ordering it very casually (1 time out of 5 or so it happened if she was very distracted -- Uno was a busy place),

Our delight if we succeeded in getting the beer,

Her scorn if we failed,

Waiting for the almost hour from ordering, because that's what it takes to cook, as we were reminded every time we ordered,

Trying not to eat the bread, breadsticks, or salad, or anything else that would take up room meant for the Pizza,

Watching every pie that went by hoping it was ours,

Eating ourselves silly,

Walking the meal off afterwards,

Going home, full and happy.

PPS: This recipe has been updated on 11/11/10 from its original posting. Ongoing process, you know.

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