Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chicago Stuffed Pizza

A few years ago, a GREAT pizza joint called Tortuga's opened up here in Hoover. Known for TRUE Chicago-style pizza and THE coldest beer in the Bham metro, I'm a HUGE fan of Tortuga's. The walls are plastered with Bears and Cubs memorabilia, which, as those of you who know me personally can attest to, makes me feel right at home. 

I usually get a 10" stuffed "Wrigleyville", which contains smoked sausage, Italian sausage, onions and green bell peppers. However, Tortuga's has odd hours, and more than once, it has been so packed that I couldn't even get a table. So, I decided to try my hand at recreating the classic Chicago deep-dish pizza.

Like hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches, Chicago puts its very own Second City spin on the classic pizza. Their version has a thick and buttery crust, several inches tall, while the pie is stuffed with uncooked chunky tomato sauce, cheese and a myriad of toppings. 

Invented at Pizzeria Uno in 1943 by original pizza chef Rudy Malnati (whose son later opened the Lou Malnati's chain), the pizza is cooked in a springform pan rather than atop a pizza stone. Toppings are added in single layers, with the meat usually pressed into a patty form. Taking it a step further, Giordano's tops the pizza with MORE dough, making the pizza "stuffed". 

For my version, I took the shortcut of buying fresh premade pizza dough from our local Publix bakery. Any toppings or fillings can be used, but don't skimp or cheat on the sauce or cheeses. 

Apologies for the picture quality - I apparently had my camera on the wrong setting; that's why these look like they were taken with a potato. Oops! 

Chicago Stuffed Pizza
IBICF Recipe

1 1/2 lbs pizza dough, divided in half, or 2 rolls of refrigerated canned pizza dough
8oz thinly sliced Provolone cheese
1 lb Italian sausage, cooked & crumbled
1 10oz can artichoke hearts, drained
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 28oz can diced tomatoes, drained (I used canned "chunky" tomato sauce)
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese

Roll out 1/2 of the pizza dough onto a floured board until 1/8" thick, about 4-5" larger than a 10" springform pan. Place dough in pan and press against the bottom and up the sides. Trim excess dough. 

Top dough with sliced Provolone, cooked sausage & artichoke hearts. Top with 1/2 of the grated Parmesan. 

Roll remaining dough to 1/8" thick and place atop the pizza; trim excess dough and then roll the top and bottom doughs together to seal. Prick dough in order to let steam escape. 

Combine the diced tomatoes, garlic powder, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes. Spread 1 - 1 1/2 cups of the sauce atop the pizza dough. Cover with mozzarella and remaining Parmesan. 

Bake pizza in a 375-degree oven for 45 minutes, topping with foil for the last 5-10 minutes. Let cool slightly, then release from the springform pan. Let cool 10-15 minutes before slicing. 


  1. Looks absolutely delish! I like to make homemade pizza on Fridays but this is beyond my challenge limit!! I remember when Pizza Hut came out with a product in the early 80s called "Priazzo" or something like that - it had crust on the top and bottom, fillings inside and sauce/cheese on the was GOOD!

  2. This is actually a LOT easier than it looks, mainly because you can take the shortcut of using fresh dough!

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  4. i remeber Priazzo. i wish they would bring it bk. God Bless You for sharing this wonderful pizza! Can't wait to try it.

    1. Please let me know how it turns out!

  5. As an ex-Chicagoan, I can certify that both Uno's and Lou Malnati's pizzas are staggeringly good-- thank you so much for the recipe, we're definitely putting it into the rotation. :o)


    1. You're welcome! Please let me know what you think!

  6. Hi Julia

    Jerry (from

    This wonderful recipe has inspired me to create my own version for Cookipedia. You have been fully attributed.

    I love your blog and must stop being lazy and add more of your recipes. x

    1. Thank you, Jerry! I really appreciate the attributes, and I'm glad you enjoyed the pizza :)

  7. Julia, I think this looks AMAZING and I am excited to try it; however, I don't have a springform pan. Can I use a cast iron skillet? And if you think it would work, do you have any thoughts or tips? I usually preheat the skillet when using them in the oven and I worry that doing so might cause the crust to get too brown and/or burn. Thanks in advance for any suggestions...

    1. Dana, you absolutely can use a cast iron skillet, as long as it's deep enough. I've made this exact pizza in a "fryer" cast iron skillet, which is slightly taller and deeper than most skillets. You don't have to preheat the pan, but you do have to keep an eye on the crust as it cooks; I find that the skillet cooks more quickly than the springform!

      Side note: An upside-down cast iron skillet makes a FANTASTIC pizza stone, too!

    2. Thanks, Julia! I can't wait to try! I have to go to the grocery first- not enough fixins in my house right now! :( I have a deep skillet so all I need now is ingredients!