Chicago Style, Italian Beef Pizza!!

I was excited to do this months Daring Baker challenge, ” PIZZA NAPOLETANA” , for one thing, I’m a proud Italian cook! and the other thing is, my family on my Mom’s side is from Naples!

The pizza dough recipe which we had to use, came from Peter Reinharts, “The Bread Bakers Apprentice” other than that, we were free to use any sauce or topping we wanted.

Seeing that I’m a girl born and raised in Chicagoland, I thought it would be fun to base my pizza on one of the foods Chicago is known for, and that is Italian Beef!

Originating in Chicago, this sandwich dates back to the 1930’s. Paper thin slices of lean roast beef, simmered in a beef juice that’s loaded with flavors of garlic, oregano, and depending on where you get it from, many other “secret spices”!

I always order mine with “sweet and hot”( peppers that is). Sweet being, green bell peppers that have been sauteed, and the hot, which is usually a homemade giardiniera.

I picked up a pound of our favorite Italian beef from Portillo’s, a very popular place that is always consistent, and always good.
When you buy it by the pound, they always separate the beef from the juice. When you get it home, instructions are to slowly simmer them together, never heating it on high heat, so that’s what I did to get all the flavors into the beef, but then because I was going to put this on top of a pizza, I drained all the juice from it, otherwise your pizza would be a soggy mess.

My sauce was made by simply opening up a can of good crushed tomatoes, and right into the can I put 1 clove of crushed garlic, about 1 teaspoon of salt, some pepper, a light sprinkling of oregano, and a drizzle of olive oil. Stir it all up, take a spoon, and spread it all over your dough.

Of course I had to add “sweet and hot” to my pizza, along with some shredded mozzarella.
The verdict on the dough: I thought the texture and the chewiness was great, it cooked up golden and crunchy, but I feel it lacked flavor, almost like it needed a little more yeasty taste to it. But thats just my opinion!

A big “Thanks” goes out to our hostess Rosa, of Rosas Yummy Yums who picked this challenge.

Click on her blog to get the complete recipe for the pizza dough.

Also go here, and check out some of the other pizza’s that have been cooked up out in the blogosphere!



I don’t know exactly when this humble sandwich had it’s beginning, but I’ve been eating this since I was a little kid. It’s usually offered primarily during the Lenten season in many of the Italian beef stands here in Chicago land, and on Friday’s, as an alternative to meat. Yes, way back when, the Catholic religion had a “no meat on Friday” rule and I think that’s how this sandwich all came about. I have to admit, even though I can find this sandwich close to where I live, and in some places it’s on the menu all year long, my favorite place to get this is right out of my own kitchen!!

Why? you might ask? Because I always think it taste’s blah there, never enough seasoning, you know, salt pepper, Romano! you can’t be skimpy with the ingredients!! It’s all about the flavor! the blending of the olive oil with the scrambled eggs and cheese, oh, and you must have good crusty bread, none of that white spongy stuff will do here!

With that being said, here’s how you put it all together… Saute your sliced peppers in olive oil that have been seasoned with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic, till tender not mushy. Next, scramble up some eggs that have been seasoned with salt, pepper, and a generous amount of Romano cheese, don’t be skimpy on the cheese, this is what makes it so good!! Pour it all over your peppers till it sets up. Place it in some crusty bread, and if you like hot stuff like I do, a little Hot Giardiniera to top it off!!

It’s warm, satisfying, and beats a cold sandwich any day!!!

Buon Appetito!!