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A cheesy riot of flavours, with love from Chicago

November 20, 2017
The Cheese Factor’s menu includes deep-dish pizzas, hots dogs and starters. — Photos by Mohammad Asim
The Cheese Factor’s menu includes deep-dish pizzas, hots dogs and starters. — Photos by Mohammad Asim

ISLAMABAD: There is no doubt that the Italians make some of the best pizzas but the Americans are not very far behind. Like with every food, the more famous American variations to pizzas include supersizing them.

New York pizzas are famous for their portion sizes. They are thin crust but one slice is enough to feed one person.

Then there is Chicago deep dish pizza which has a thick dough base and is stuffed with cheese, meat and vegetables which is topped with dough again and laden with a thick marinara sauce before baking it at 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Attique and his wife Hira brought the recipe for the much loved pizza from Chicago to Islamabad which they are now serving in their restaurant, The Cheese Factor, in F-11.

The eatery has a seating capacity of 30 inside and tables for 10 have been set up outside in the veranda.

Hira has received formal training and has taken certified courses from Chicago so she could replicate the exact original Chicago style deep dish pizza recipe.

Pizzeria Uno and Giordano’s are two very popular deep-dish pizza outlets in Chicago and The Cheese Factor pizzas are very similar, Attique said.

He said he spends about four to five hours daily at the eatery before Hira takes over.

The chicken supreme and spinach pizzas are the bestsellers at The Cheese Factor and Peri Peri follows close.

The chicken supreme contains a homemade tomato sauce, smoke BBQ chicken chunks, bits of chicken sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, onion, olives and Swiss mozzarella cheese.

The deep pan in which the pizza is baked gives it its characteristic high edge.

The deep dish allows room for more cheese and chunky tomato sauce along with the meat.

The two-inch deep pizza looks more like a pie that a flat bread and though the pizza is deep, the crust itself is thin to medium in thickness so it is golden crisp when baked.

The pan in which it is baked looks more like a cake pan and according to Attique, some customers also put candles on top of the pizza when celebrating birthdays.

A normal crust pizza is almost half an inch deep. The dough is moulded along the dish and filled with the toppings to seal it all off with dough again.

Holes are made in the top lid to allow steam to escape while the pizza is being baked. Tomato sauce is ladled on top and the dish is put in the oven to bake. Because of the thickness of the pizza, the dish requires longer to be baked.

“We take 20-25 minutes to bake the pizza and in Chicago, restaurants take 45 minutes as they use a variety of meats which take time to cook,” Attique said.

The restaurant also makes hot dogs including Chicago favourite mince chilli which comes with a juicy hotdog topped with homemade mince chilli sauce while the Chicago hotdog comes with a special relish, pickles and salsa.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2017