Pizza to Write Home About

Chicago deep dish pizza. It’s really a must have when you visit the city. (Similar to the obligatory slice of New York pizza when in town.)

Super-sous had long been talking about our “must” rendez-vous with Lou Malnati’s pizza during our down time (from shooting Good Food America) in Chicago. I once had a slice many years ago when in Chicago (a faint memory from decades ago) and one of my friends originally from Chicago but who now lives in L.A. had even had the pizza shipped out to him in times of desperate cravings (yes, Lou Malnati’s ships their deep dish pizza partially baked and flash frozen all over the United States).

Off we went last night, after a long day of shooting. We kept it simple. Small, plain cheese deep dish pizza with butter crust.

The pizza was even better than we remembered. Each bite offered just as much mozzarella cheese as it did deep dish crust. The sauce? If they sold jars of it, I would have a couple already packed in my suitcase.

Super-sous and I made a quick trip to the kitchen to see how it’s all done. 7 pizza ovens with 6 shelves to an oven line the kitchen with a nice-sized prep area. Each pizza cooks for 30-35 minutes at 650 degrees! That’s a LONG time. In comparison, my pizza recipe  (granted, it’s thin crust) from my cookbook cooks at 500 degrees for 8 minutes. The manager told us that each year Mr. Malnati himself goes to California (yeah!) to pick out the tomatoes for their sauce. He wouldn’t reveal the crust recipe, but we did find out that it does not contain any sugar or salt.

Thank Latte we ordered a small which gave us each 2 hearty slices but did not leave us overstuffed. Had we ordered a medium we would have been beyond full, because there’s no way you can let any of that pizza go to waste.

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About Chef Nathan Lyon

Chef Nathan Lyon is known to television viewers across the country for his simple, innovative cuisine featuring fresh, seasonal, local ingredients. Chef and co-host of Growing A Greener World (PBS), Nathan was the creator and host of A Lyon in the Kitchen (Discovery Health and Fit TV), among the final four on the second season of The Next Food Network Star, and appeared as a guest chef and expert on Home Made Simple (TLC) and Real Simple Real Life (TLC). After graduating from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science in Health Science and a minor in Public Health, Nathan backpacked his way across Europe, learning about local customs, culture, and cuisine. Although every town and country along Nathan’s journey provided its own culinary lesson, the watershed moment occurred in an outdoor market just outside of Florence, Italy: an old woman, agog at the massive amount of produce Nathan was stockpiling, eagerly asked, “Why are you buying so much food? Why not just buy fresh every day?” Nathan immediately dumped out half his basket and began pondering those two simple questions. It was in that market, clutching a wheel of cheese, that Nathan discovered his truth: great food starts fresh. Laden with ideas and information, Nathan headed home, eventually opting for culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Los Angeles, where he earned a Culinary Arts degree. Since that time, Nathan has worked in many restaurants, both in and out of the kitchen, and has also worked with local growers in California farmers markets for over a decade. Nathan recently (December 2011) came out with his very first cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, which has been quoted by Alice Waters and Graham Kerr, in addition to other esteemed chefs. Great Food Starts Fresh is a seasonal cookbook featuring 135 recipes broken down into the 5 seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter, and... chocolate! Nathan has cooked for the Inspector General, cooked and spoken at numerous charity functions, is one of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s 2011 Sustainable Seafood Ambassadors, and has even written and co-illustrated (with his older brother, Craig) a children’s adventure book, Sam the Clam.
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