Pizza II: 2 Pizza 2 Furious

26 April 2009

THAT'S the Chicago Way!

Sean Con sez: "If he comes at you with thin crust, you make yours as thick as possible; if he puts his cheese on top of the sauce, you put your sauce on top of the cheese; if he uses bacon as a topping..., well, you go ahead and use bacon, too, because it's delicious - THAT'S the Chicago Way!"

In the interest of full disclosure, I would like to start this entry off with a disclaimer: in the great New York v. Chicago pizza war, I stand firmly on the side of my Big Apple brethren (and not just because I like getting hand-jobs from trannies while riding the subway.)  It’s not that I don’t like Chicago-style pizza – quite the contrary, actually – it’s just that a thin, foldable crust seems to better fit my culinary predilections, for whatever reason, than the deep dish variety.  But, really, who cares which style anyone prefers?  Any competition between two styles of pizza is more an academic exercise than anything, after all; a battle not between culinary styles, but rather of the geographic pride from which those styles sprang.  Chicagoans like Chicago-style because they’re proud of their town and how the deep-dish has come to symbolize it.  New Yorkers like New York-style because “What?  We gots’ta explain ourselves to you, you fuckin’ mutt?  I think fuckin’ not, paisan.”  But, much like a murder-suicide pact between the Octo Mom and Bernie Madoff, the great pizza battle is win-win.  It’s like having to choose to snort coke off the ass of either Marisa Miller or Brooklyn Decker – I mean, either way, you get to snort coke.

I would, no joke, stab a puppy if it meant getting an opportunity to make out with Marisa Miller.

No joke, I would stab a puppy if it meant getting an opportunity to make out with Marisa Miller.

My predilection for thin, New York style pizza notwithstanding, I have a much richer history with its hefty, mid-western counterpart.  Having grown up in a land of intolerable humidity and the constant fear of cow-hurtling tornadoes, I often made trips to the Windy City with family and, later, my best friend, Pete.  A Cubs game, listening to blues, and taking three bottles of wine to that one Italian restaurant that didn’t card and had no corkage fee always seemed to soothe the 17-year-old soul.  But it was all prelude to a huge-ass dinner at Gino’s East, where one slice seemed to do the job that six normal-sized dinners used to.  Chicago holds a special place in my heart, and even though I decided not to go to Registered Scientist school there, I always reminisce about staying at the Palmer House Hilton and walking down the Miracle Mile, or napping next to the lake in front of the Shedd Aquarium, or mugging that Northwestern student so I’d have enough money for my next eightball.  The fact is, Chicago makes me happy, as do loads of cheese, meat, sauce and a rich, flaky, butter-infused crust.  Unfortunately, in order to make Chicago style pizza in your very own home, you’re not only going to have to get a special deep dish pan, but you’re also going to have to make dough, which, as previously discussed on this blog, makes going to the moon look like a fucking walk in the park.

Stuff That Goes In The Food You’re Making

All those dough ingredients, which I will describe shortly
Cheese
Sauce ingredients, which I will describe shortly
More cheese
Toppings

"I've got something else you can make by hand, if you know what I mean.  I mean breadsticks, of course.  I mean, if you've already got the pizza dough, it should be pretty easy for you."

As opposed to those new-fangled pizzas, which are all made by robots. Nice gams, though.

Make The Good Kind Of Pie

I ain’t goin’ over the dough procedure, because I don’t feel like giving myself bread baking flashbacks for the next two hours, but suffice it to say that this particular dough involves yeast, water, oil, flour, corn meal, salt, and frustration.  It’s also going to need an ass-load of time to rest, because God forbid it has to get up off its ass and fucking do something, for a change.  Once you’ve got your dough all set up, the rest is pretty simple (which is pretty much like saying “Once you get the whole Israel/Palestine thing figured out, the road to peace in the Middle East is pretty simple.”)  Place your dough in the pan and press down on the bottom and at least an inch up on the sides.  At some point, a Chicago area chef got the mind-blowing notion of putting cheese on the bottom of the pizza, and the sauce on top.  I’m assuming this was some Freudian protest to his wife’s insistence that they always have sex in the missionary position.  Good for him – the missionary position is, like, the Godfather III of positions (in both cases you’re constantly asking yourself “What is Andy Garcia doing here?”).  In any event, slap a layer of cheese down on the crust – I like fresh mozzarella and sliced provolone.

Next, start in on the sauce.  I like scotch, but pick out whichever spirit manages to pick yours up (holy shit did that sound awesome; I should have been an ad man.)  In terms of the sauce for the pizza, sweat some onions and garlic in a pot.  Add in tomato sauce and some tomato paste.  Throw in dried oregano, basil, and a bay leaf.  Salt and pepper that bad boy to taste, and simmer for an hour.  Boom!  Pizza sauce.  Pour your sauce on top of the cheese, add any toppings you want (bacon), and finish with a blizzard of finely grated Parm.  Put the pizza in an oven pre-heated to 450 degrees and cook until the crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Hope you don’t have anything planned for the next two days, because this pizza is definitely going to give you a monstrous case of The Bloat.

Telling the pizza delivery girl that I guaranteed my delivery in thirty seconds or less did not have the desired effect.

Telling the pizza delivery girl that I guaranteed my delivery in thirty seconds or less did not have the desired effect.

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