Just ask anyone from St. Louis about pizza. We all know what goes on it…Provel cheese. Even the spell checker on this website doesn’t recognize what Provel cheese is, and most people outside of the midwest have not clue what it is either. Not only do they not know what it is, when they finally try it, they profess their pure hatred for it. Why? This is quite arguably the best cheese in the world. Most will say that it isn’t really cheese, it’s considered a mixture of cheeses that includes Provolone, Swiss, and Cheddar. More info can be found here.
As a child I had no idea how unique Provel cheese was. I thought everyone had the pleasure of eating the “Square Beyond Compare” (St. Louis people know exactly what that means). I didn’t know that St. Louis style pizza was an actual concept, and that no one else fully appreciated it.
My coworkers are mostly transplants from Richmond, Virginia. They have strong opinions about St. Louis style pizza, a.k.a., Imo’s. They HATE it! They want nothing to do with it, and refuse to order or eat it. The main cause of their hatred is the provel cheese. Why, why, why? That stuff is nothing short of amazing. I will never understand why they hate it, but they may never understand why I hate the famed dishes from Richmond. Oh wait, there aren’t any! We are so cool here in St. Louis that we have our own style of pizza. I honestly think that they hate it so much because WE love it so much and they are jealous. Yes, that’s what I’m going to go with. It’s hard to imagine that someone could hate our pizza for any other reason.
So, back to what’s important…the recipe. Anyone that has ever ordered Imo’s pizza knows how expensive it can be. My children request it all of the time, and I just can’t bring myself to spend the $35 on 2 pizzas (including delivery). So, I spent weeks scouring the web to find the perfect recipe. Honestly, there aren’t many out there. I read through recipes and read through posts from Imo’s employees and came up with the perfect combination. This recipe is my combination of ingredients that produces the perfect Imo’s copycat recipe.
I have made this recipe 3 times now, and it is so easy. I know that I have family and friends that lived in St. Louis at one time and have since moved to parts of the country that don’t have Imo’s, much less a place to buy Provel cheese. So, here’s the recipe for those that can’t order it, can’t afford to order it, or simply want to try to make this yourself.
p.s. you can order Provel online if no one sells it in your area. Although, I think every store should carry it, so go to the Service Counter and request it….and then wait for the clerk to say “What?”.
St. Louis Style Pizza
16 ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped finely
6 ounce can of tomato paste
2 tbls sugar
1 tsp crushed basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp thyme
Preheat oven to 450. Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use. This makes enough for a few pizzas.
2 cups + 2 tbls flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp corn syrup
1/2 cup + 2 tbls water
Combine all ingredients and mix, by hand until the dough comes together. Form into a ball. Sprinkle a clean surface with corn meal and roll doll out flat. Make sure it is very thin. Place onto a hot pizza stone. This dough can be made ahead of time and kept in a refrigerator, in a dough ball wrapped in plastic wrap.
2 cups Provel cheese
2 tbls Parmesan cheese
1 tbls oregano
Spread sauce onto pizza crust. Put any meat toppings on next, if desired. Sprinkle with provel cheese and then the Parmesan. Finish with the oregano. Place pizza in oven for 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is crisp. Remove pizza and cut into squares.
06 Sep 2011 7 Comments