OH NO YOU DON'T!..... :2mad:
I'm exactly with you in this, but prefer easy cheese and moderate use of toppings. The sauce should be a bit tangy, sweet & spicy, and it's gotta' be well seasoned with Italian herbs & seasonings. The sausage should be pork based, & must have *freshly cracked* fennel seed!
Olive oil is a critical component, both in the sauce and painted over the dough before the sauce, and oregano should be over the sauce but before the cheese.
There's got to be grated Parmesan (or Incanestrato) over the sauce layer, and the cheese mixture should be a mixture of mozzarella & scamorza, with a little provolone added to taste.
If there's going to be sweet peppers on it - they better be firstly baked in olive oil & garlic as a separate step!
And anchovy is required - not optional! :cheers:
(And yes - crushed red pepper is a classic pairing to anchovy)
Nick & Vitos (still on the Southside) is probably the best extant example available, even though it's been highly promoted nationally (there were many similar on the Southside - now gone). Marcello's 'Father & Son' on the Northside, and now in Northbrook, is passable. But none compare at all to the real-deal stuff of my old favorite but now long gone 'home' place on the Southside. The neighborhoods changed, and all these great places from an earlier era are gone along with the previous inhabitants.
If you think the 'right' Parmesan is the hardest most pungent you can find, consider trying Incanestrato. It's like parm on steroids, and still hasn't caught on much with non-Italians, so it's always imported and not blanded-out for American tastes. It can be found in Sicilian and Southern Italian (Calabrese, etc.) delis.
And yes, when I was a young kid I hung in the kitchen of a very old-school pizzeria a few blocks from my house. It was owned by an aging Sicilian from the old country, who spoke (very) broken English. He took to me in a grandfather-like way, and I hung in that kitchen off & on until I was in my late twenties and his declining health and age forced him to close the business. He really ran it more as a hobby anyway for his Sicilian paisans and their families, and they ran a book out of the back! It was a great little club-like neighborhood place! I miss it greatly!